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The Two of Us : My Life with John Thaw - Sheila Hancock

The Two of Us

My Life with John Thaw

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Published: 17th August 2009
Format: ePUB
RRP $10.99

John Thaw was born and brought up in Manchester. His mother ran off when John was seven, and his father, a long-distance lorry driver, was often away, leaving John and his brother to manage alone. Acting was not an obvious choice of career but his timing was perfect: it was the sixties; theatre and TV were hungry for new voices and his natural, intuitive style of acting. With his roles in Z-Cars and The Sweeney, fame came quickly. But in a long and enduringly successful career in theatre and TV, it was John's role as Morse that secured him widespread popular and critical acclaim.

In 1974 John married Sheila Hancock with whom he shared a working-class background, a RADA education and a huge talent for acting - Sheila was already the star of the sixties TV series The Rag Trade and has continued to receive accolades for her work as an actress and as a director. Theirs was a long, sometimes turbulent, always passionate relationship, and here Sheila describes their life together - a love that weathered overwork and the pressures of celebrity, drink and cancer, separation and joyful reunions - with honesty and piercing intelligence.

Together they bore witness to swiftly changing times - from the Second World War to the Iraq war, from rationing to affluence, from the chiseled tones of Olivier to the democracy of TV. Sheila has kept a diary all her life; her entries charting the course of John's illness, his death, the heartbreak of bereavement, and the beginnings of a new life on her own, stand as an intensely moving memoir of loss and recovery.

About the Author

Sheila Hancock was born in 1933 and attended RADA before embarking on a successful career in acting, both on stage and screen. She was awarded the OBE in 1974. Sheila Hancock lives in London


worth a read


I was interested in the life of John Thaw as he was a favourite actor of mine. I found it quite distressing to know he had such pain in his life.



A touching story


Sad but positive book

Endeavourhills Victoria


The Two of Us

4.0 2


An intriguing double biography of husband-and-wife team John Thaw and Sheila Hancock, charting their rise from working-class hardship to fame both on stage and behind the scenes. Interspersed with the story are extracts from Sheila's diaries - poignant memories of the love she shared with John and of the cancer that finally parted them. Sheila writes in a pacy, moving way of the many paths that eventually brought herself and John together, and of the relationship that followed. Sometimes tempestuous but always passionate, that relationship had to weather the ravages of overwork as well as the pressures of celebrity and drink, and finally of disease. The story shows how through hard work and good fortune two people reached the top of their tree and went on to influence the professional styles of those who in some cases had previously looked down on them. An honest account piercing in its intelligence and well illustrated with family snapshots. (Kirkus UK)

ISBN: 9780747570202
ISBN-10: 0747570205
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 301
Published: 4th October 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.5  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.724
Edition Number: 1