Walters did not, however, begin her career as an actress. At age 19, to please her mother, she trained to be a nurse at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham. When her desire to act became overwhelming, Walters left home to study drama an Manchester Poly. She later joined the Liverpool Everyman in 1974, where she first worked with writer Alan Bleasdale. Her career took off when she starred with Richard Beckinsale in the Everyman production of Mike Stott's Funny Peculiar, which transferred to the West End for 16 months.
Walters has starred in Terry Jones' Personal Services, which earned her a BAFTA nomination; Stephen Frears' Prick Up Your Ears; Lewis Gilbert's Stepping Out with Liza Minnelli (BAFTA nomination, Best Supporting Actress); Nancy Meckler's Sister My Sister; Intimate Relations with Rupert Graves; and Roger Michell's Titanic Town.
West End theatre credits include Sam Shepard's Fool For Love (Olivier nomination for Best Actress); Sharman McDonald's When I was a Girl I used to Scream and Shout; Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune; and Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo directed by Peter hall.
Television roles include: Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Black Stuff (BAFTA nomination Best Television Actress); GBH; Jake's Progress; Alan Bennett's Intensive Care, Talking Heads and Say Something Funny (BAFTA nomination Best Actress); and Victoria Wood's Pat and Margaret and Julie Walters and Friends which included Victoria Wood, Alan Bleasdale, Alan Bennett and Willy Russell (BAFTA nomination Best Light Entertainment Program).