Harriet Thorpe

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Harriet Thorpe
Born (1957-06-08) 8 June 1957 (age 58)
Hampstead, London, England[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1984-present
Children Jack Thorpe-Baker

Harriet Amelia Thorpe[2] (born 8 June 1957)[1] is an English actress. She trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.



She appeared in the mid-to-late 1990s British television sitcom The Brittas Empire, playing Carole Parkinson, the receptionist who was prone to depression and fits of emotion who permanently kept her children with her in drawers under her desk and would sometimes be seen feeding them or washing their clothes. Thorpe also starred in a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link as Madame Morrible, in which she was voted off in the first round.

She also played Fleur in Absolutely Fabulous, an eccentric and somewhat odd work-colleague who spoke in a very precise fashion. Along with working extensively with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, she has also appeared in BBC2's Alexei Sayle's Stuff, A Bit of Fry and Laurie; BBC's Casualty, ITV's The Bill and Midsomer Murders. She also notably played Beverley Osman in the BBC children's comedy drama No Sweat starring boyband North and South.


Thorpe has also appeared in numerous films, for example in Calendar Girls as the rather patronising and superior head of the Women's Institute; Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet; Greystoke; and upcoming films The Calling and S.N.U.B.


Thorpe has also appeared on stage, often playing extreme roles in an extreme way. She worked extensively at the Royal National Theatre, in London's West End and two Shakespeare seasons at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. She was in the original revival cast of Cabaret as Fraulein Kost at the Lyric Theatre in London on 22 September 2006.[3] Prior to this, she played Mrs. Lovett in the national tour of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, originated the role of Ida Arnold in the Almeida Theatre's original musical, Brighton Rock, and played the role of Madame Thenardier in the hit musical, Les Misérables.

On 14 April 2008, she took over the role of Madame Morrible from Susie Blake in the West End production of Wicked.[4] She played her final performance on 27 March 2010, and was replaced by Julie Legrand.[5]

Thorpe took over the role of Tanya from Jane Gurnett in the West End production of Mamma Mia! on 14 June 2010.[6]

She recently returned to the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park to play the parts of Lottie Childs and Patricia Fodor in Timothy Sheader and Stephen Mear's revival of Crazy For You, for which she was nominated for the 2012 Theatregoers' Choice Awards [1]

Thorpe is also an ambassador for Walk the Walk, the breast cancer charity [2]

Thorpe will be returning to Wicked to play Madame Morrible from Monday 22 April 2013 until Saturday 16 November 2013,[7] in place of Louise Plowright who has withdrawn from the role due to illness.

Her sister is the actress Matilda Thorpe.


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