Tessa Jowell: ‘Harry Potter actress is tough enough to play me in film’

Dame Tessa Jowell is a former Labour MP who served in the cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The 67-year-old, who moved to Highgate almost a decade ago, most notably led London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics. She is hoping to be selected as Labour’s official candidate in the election for Mayor of London next year.

What brought you to Highgate?

We sold our family home in Kentish Town, I wanted a small home and found my lovely little house where I have lived ever since in a mews that was just being redeveloped – I lived on a building site for two years but I love it.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

I’d probably open the double doors on my balcony and enjoy being at home, before a walk across the Heath and tea at Kenwood.

Is there anything about Highgate which you would like to see changed or improved?

I’d like to see more independent shops on the high street and fewer estate agents. It should work better as a high street than it does.

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As guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

High rents faced by young people who want to live in the area.

A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you and why?

Fiona Shaw – she is one of the great character actors, and she would get my toughness.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Helen Suzman – a lone parliamentary voice against apartheid more than 40 years ago.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

‘There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.’ Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

Dame Tessa Jowell was in conversation with Tim Lamden.