Harrow had never been much for political action. But on this particular occasion, she had just returned to London
from the filming of The Last Days of Chez Nous. Her relationship with [actor Sam] Neill was ending, which left her feeling
at loose ends. And on her desk landed an invitation from Greenpeace to be a celebrity speaker at a Save the Whales rally in
Trafalgar Square. "And I thought, 'Trafalgar Square, that's a good stage! That's fun!' So that's why I did it.
had to read this piece they sent me, about long-range communication of whales. I had no idea. I'd never seen a whale. I didn't know
anything about this."
was on the speakers' list as well. "I couldn't see her while she was speaking, but I heard this fantastically intelligent voice.
I was doing a film at the time and I wanted somebody to read some Moby-Dick, and I'd wanted it to be a woman, not
a man. And I thought, 'That's who I'll get to do Moby-Dick.'"
After Harrow spoke,
she walked off the speakers' platform. "She came down the steps," recalls Payne, "and I was waiting at the
bottom. I was bowled over! I decided, 'This is the person I want to marry.'"
"We spent three hours talking, during which time the demonstration ended and people were saying goodbye and [her son]
Tim was milling around Trafalgar Square. We'd really connected in a profound way. And I had a friend over for dinner that
night, and I said, 'I've met the man I'm going to marry!'"
Payne, the master
tactician, chose exactly the right approach to a single mother. That night, he called Harrow and asked if he could take her
and Tim to the zoo. The next day, they went. "And Roger got us in behind the scenes at the aquarium," she recalls.
"It was a kick in the head, it was great."
Soon thereafter, Payne was off
to Iceland to badger people at an IWC meeting. But, as he says, "I spent almost all my time writing a long letter to
"So I got this letter," adds Harrow, "which basically said
we should get married."