When John Thaw, star of The Sweeney and Inspector Morse, died from cancer in 2002, a nation lost one of its finest actors, and Sheila Hancock lost a beloved husband. In this unique double biography she chronicles their lives, personal and professional, together and apart, growing up and growing older.
John Thaw was born in Manchester, the son of a lorry driver. When he arrived at RADA on a scholarship he felt an outsider. In fact his timing was perfect: it was the sixties and television was beginning to make its mark. With his roles in Z-Cars and The Sweeney, fame came quickly. But it was John's role as Morse that made him an icon. In 1974 he married Sheila Hancock, with whom he shared a working-class background and a RADA education. Sheila was already the star of the TV series The Rag Trade and went on to become the first woman artistic director at the RSC.
Theirs was a sometimes turbulent, always passionate relationship, and in this remarkable book Sheila describes their love, weathering overwork and the pressures of celebrity, drink, and cancer, with honesty and piercing intelligence, and evokes two lives lived to the utmost.
©2004 Sheila Hancock; (P)2005 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
"Constructed with considerable skill....A book of exceptional emotional candour." (Sunday Telegraph)
"An impressive and affecting work of art." (Spectator)
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"sad and enthralling"
sheila hancock is quite brilliant in the way she switches between past and present and tells the story of her life, johns life, life together and apart, and then his death. Very moving.
I have not read the hardcover book. I knew John Thaw primarily through movies and television. This is the reason I chose the audio version. He seems more alive on this format.
I found the moment he found out he had esophageal cancer and the life he chose to live afterwards both brave and heart breaking. I still have his Morse episodes on CD. That is the beauty of this medium. He lives forever.
Sheila Hancock's performance spot on. I can not envision anyone else recording this. The emotion she conveys truly moved me. I listened to the audio book twice. Wonderful
John Thaw's dignity through his illness and his relationships were inspiring.
I just loved getting to know John Thaw the man, it gives me more insight into his characters.
"Interesting and enjoyable to learn more an icon"
Excellent book and interesting to learn about such a famous icon and his life. Sheila has let us in to their life and experiences both good and bad. A loss for people that admired John this book has enabled the reader to learn more about John and add to the memories of his life.
"Rewarding & Poignant"
A refreshing and moving love story. Simply lovely tale of two individuals who are bound together by destiny. Written by a lady who must have loved this man with passion, but who still held firmly onto her own personality. Inspirational insight into the life of John Thaw & Shelia Hancock while maintaining privacy.
My first audio book which will lead me to discover many more I am sure.
"A Wonderful Story"
This moving and honest account of two remarkable lives was gripping from beginning to end. A real love story that was delightful to listen to.
"The Two of Us"
This was a real insight into the private relationship between two people who clearly adored each other even though they had their share of ups and downs. It shows that with patience and by brutally looking inside themselves how they overcame the difficulties which can be present in any marriage. Two artistic people at the top of their profession. You feel like writing to the author to say 'well done' but you wouldn't want to intrude on her. I loved this book.
"Could have been so much better"
Disappointed with this... it could have been much better. The focus of the book was all in the wrong place. Sadly ego gets in the way I think... too much theatre lovey stuff.
"You have your wonderful memories"
Sheila's words spoken with such clarity. She helped me understand & deal my own bereavement.
A very fitting tribute to John.
This is an utterly beautiful description of life and love. The fact that it is about two national treasures is incidental. I regularly left home late so I could keep listening. I have only missed a star off because I wish, I wish, I wish it had been unabridged - I'm going to have to buy the whole book now.
A privileged glimpse into the lives of two loved actors, John Thaw and Sheila Hancock. Sheila Hancock safeguards their ultimate privacy while granting us insights into how and why their lives developed as they did. Her attitude and approach in fighting overwhelming grief during her early widowhood sustained her sufficiently to allow her to develop a new and rich life, and will be an inspiration to those enduring the horrors of bereavement.
"sensitive, poignant , funny and revealing."
I thoroughly enjoyed this bittersweet account of Sheila's life with John Thaw. She is such an honest woman who put so much of herself into the writing that I felt I knew her after I listened to it. So much enhanced by her own telling of the tale of their life together. I'm looking forward to listening to her next instalment, \"Just Me\", which promises to be another rollercoaster. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the psyche of a very private man.
"Love, Desperation and Recovery"
This recording was so touching because of Sheila Hancock's raw portrayal of her feelings through diary extracts.
Her juxtaposition of her getting to know John Thaw with how she dealt with her feelings on his illness, and then death, made the recording all the more poignant. I did shed a tear at various points as she tapped into my own fears of loss and death.
Yet it is also upbeat, with Sheila's forthright views, and her plain talking about what Al-Anon taught her, her part in the chaos of alcoholism, and how they eventually were able to be truly happy as John found he could abstain from drinking even though he suffered from the disease of alcoholism.
(I did absolutely hate how the impact of the poignant ending was diluted by the following voice of that American Woman proclaiming the virtues of Audible.com though!)
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