The inspirational story of our Ambassador – Harriet Thorpe!

I remember Mummy saying one day “Darling, we’re going to Jack’s on Sunday for brunch”. And that was Jack Lemmon!

Harriet and her team at The MoonWalk London

“Looking back on my childhood memories and the genes I inherited from my parents, I realise that my life as an actress was set out from the day I was born. One of my first memories is of making my little sister laugh when she was a baby and the magical feeling of fulfilment and excitement it gave me.

My Father, Edward Thorpe who is 94 and still very dapper and full of fun, left home when he was only 14 years old and toured as an actor in the play “Where the Rainbow Ends”. He then went on to become a novelist and was the dance critic for the Evening Standard for 25 years.

Harriet, her Dad Edward and Albie the dog

My Mother, Gillian Freeman was a breast cancer survivor, an extraordinary, wonderful woman, a mother mentor and friend, and a well-known author and screenwriter, who addressed subjects that were often taboo in the 60’s. Her novels included the successful and important “The Leather Boys” featuring two young working class biker boys who fell in love. It was the Brokeback Mountain of the time and very significant, as it was still illegal to be gay when she wrote the novel. It was made into a film, her first screenplay and one of many over the next 20 years. 

When I was eight, my mother told my sister (the actress Matilda Thorpe) and I, that we were going to live in Los Angeles the following week! It was a crazy time, going from a North London state primary school with food that was dark grey, to a Beverly Hills school where they had pizza, chicken wings, an ice cream machine and chocolate milk. It was just the most bizarre culture shock!

I remember Mummy saying one day “Darling, we’re going to Jack’s on Sunday for brunch”... that was Jack Lemmon! As a kid, I found myself sitting around Robert Allman’s pool, with our families, in a lift with Fred Astaire... oh yes and l said to him “You’re absolutely wonderful in Singing in the Rain” Of course, that was Gene Kelly! I couldn’t have been more wrong, but he was absolutely charming and just said “Thank you so much”!

I was very lucky to go to the Royal Ballet School when I was 16, then my tits grew and you can’t squeeze my big tits into a tutu! While waiting to find my calling, I waitressed at the lovely theatrical restaurant Joe Allen’s in London. Tennessee Williams, Diana Ross, Lauren Bacall, Danny La Rue, Barbara Windsor, Biggins, Sir Ian McKellen -  everyone in film, television and theatre would go there every night after the shows. Elaine Stritch lived at the Savoy and she’d come in every single day, sit at the end of the bar and have cheeseburger and fries. It was the norm and such fun and I soaked up the atmosphere.

My journey made sense when in 1979 I ran up the steps of the Central School of Speech and Drama and felt that I’d come home. I was able to be me, it was the most glorious time. This training would eventually lead to The National Theatre, West End musicals, Comedy sketch shows, sitcoms, movies and pantomime.

Victoria Wood and Harriet preparing to take part in The MoonWalk London

Victoria Wood was one of my dearest friends and it was through her that I ultimately became Walk the Walk’s Ambassador. Over a regular cuppa, she suggested that we both took part in The MoonWalk London – I just said yes, absolutely, that sounds fantastic... that’s how we started doing The MoonWalk - we walked the first one and were hooked! 

The second year we took part, we’d plan our training walks and would be there with an A to Z and one of those little rolling things that told you how many miles you’d done. Nowadays, you just use your phone. We enjoyed our walks so much and just shrieked with laughter! Victoria made the fantastic television documentary “MoonWalking” - she then got very busy with work, but I kept doing The MoonWalk every year and was invited to become Walk the Walk’s Ambassador.

Every person that I’ve ever known and worked with, if possible, I’ve made do The MoonWalk! All the kids from Mamma Mia, Jen Saunders first took part with her youngest daughter and with my daughter too. We had a wonderful time. Jennifer also did The MoonWalk after she’d had been diagnosed with breast cancer herself - that’s when we started the “Jen and Harriet’s Big Tits team!” 

Harriet Thorpe, Jennifer Saunders and Nina Barough at The MoonWalk London

Gaby Roslin, Tom Read Wilson, David Ames, Sally Lindsay - all my pals do The MoonWalk!

Because this year’s MoonWalk is Virtual, there’s so much choice in terms of distances – it’s wonderful that some people can do the six miles, some people can do 13 miles (that’s the one I’m doing) and some people can do the full marathon and you can take part from anywhere in the world, Tom Read Wilson isn’t going to be in London, but hopefully he’ll do the walk virtually and we’ll phone each other while we’re all doing it. My net is cast very wide! 

The MoonWalk is such a special experience that unites so many people. For my team -  Harriet’s Big Tits - it’s all about friends being together, having fun, raising money, getting healthy and the simplicity of just walking and talking!”

Just like Harriet, get your friends together (remember the Rule of Six!) and sign up for the daytime Virtual MoonWalk London and Scotland. Entries are open here!



Bra picture

Get involved

Here's just a few ways of supporting us!