Harriet Thorpe

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Harriet Thorpe
Born (1957-06-08) 8 June 1957 (age 62)
Hampstead, London, England[1]
Years active1984–present
ChildrenJack Thorpe-Baker
Parent(s)Gillian Freeman, Edward Thorpe[2]

Harriet Amelia Thorpe[3] (born 8 June 1957)[1] is an English actress. Thorpe trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. She is known for her roles in the British sitcoms, The Brittas Empire (1991–97) and Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2012) and has also starred in the West End musicals, Cabaret (2006), Wicked (2008) and Mamma Mia! (2010).



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.

Thorpe 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, Material Girl and ITV's The Bill and Midsomer Murders. She played Beverley Osman in the BBC children's comedy drama No Sweat, starring boyband North and South. She made a guest appearance in Channel 4 soap opera, Hollyoaks as Elizabeth.


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


Thorpe has appeared on stage. 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.[4] 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.[5] She played her final performance on 27 March 2010, and was replaced by Julie Legrand.[6]

Thorpe took over the role of Tanya from Jane Gurnett in the West End production of Mamma Mia! on 14 June 2010.[7]

She 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 returned to Wicked to play Madame Morrible from Monday 22 April 2013 until Saturday 16 November 2013,[8] in place of Louise Plowright who withdrew from the role due to illness.

In 2018, Thorpe joined the cast of Ruthless! The Musical as Miss Myrna Thorn.


Thorpe is an ambassador for Walk the Walk[9], the UK's largest grant-making breast cancer charity,[2] and the UK's Diversity In Media Awards (DIMAS)

Her sister is the actress Matilda Thorpe.


  1. ^ a b "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  2. '^ Smith, Harrison (11 March 2019). "Gillian Freeman, whose novel Leather Boys was a gay landmark, dies at 89". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  3. ^ Ms Harriet Amelia Thorpe company-director-check.co.uk. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  4. ^ Theatre.com - 18 August 2006
  5. ^ Playbill News: London's Wicked to Welcome New Madame Morrible in April
  6. ^ Lee Mead to Join London's Wicked as Fiyero; Principals Confirmed
  7. ^ Harriet Thorpe Set For West End MAMMA MIA!, More New Casting Announced
  8. ^ http://www.broadwayworld.com/westend/article/Harriet-Thorpe-Will-Return-to-WICKED-as-Madame-Morrible-From-April-22-20130421 Harriet Thorpe Returns to WICKED as 'Madame Morrible' Today] Broadway World, Retrieved 12 July 2017
  9. ^ "Walk The Walk - Breast Cancer Grant Making Charity - Register Now!". Walk the Walk. Retrieved 11 June 2019.

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