By Sheila Hancock
Whilst John Thaw, big name of The Sweeney and Inspector Morse, died from melanoma in 2002, a state misplaced one among its best actors. Sheila Hancock misplaced a liked husband. during this specific double biography she chronicles their lives - own undefined, jointly and aside. John Thaw was once born in Manchester, the son of a lorry driving force. while he arrived at RADA on a scholarship he felt an intruder. in reality his timing was once ideal: it used to be the sixties and tv used to be starting to make its mark. together with his roles in Z-Cars and The Sweeney, popularity got here quick. however it used to be John's function as Morse that made him an icon. In 1974 John married Sheila Hancock, with whom he shared a working-class heritage and a RADA schooling. Sheila used to be already the big name of the television sequence The Rag alternate and went directly to turn into the 1st girl creative director on the RSC. Theirs was once a occasionally turbulent, continually passionate courting, and Sheila describes their love - weathering overwork and the pressures of superstar, drink and melanoma - with honesty and piercing intelligence. the 2 people is a impressive e-book - a biography of a born actor and a young, usually heartbreaking memoir of a wedding. packed with perception and vibrant thoughts, it inspires lives lived to the maximum.
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Extra info for The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw
They had no children but doted on a snuffly Pekinese called Dainty, who rode in the basket of Mrs Giles’s sit-up-and-beg bicycle. Dogs they understood. Children were a mystery. The big girl was OK, pretty and self-possessed, but the little ’un was a puzzle. I was painfully thin on wartime rations, monosyllabic with despair, face contorted with a tic. Every few minutes my mouth gaped wide open and described a circular movement. Then my teeth clamped shut into a tight grin and my shoulders shrugged up to my ears.
After the rough and tumble of King’s Cross, Bexleyheath in Kent seemed dreadfully dull. My parents thought it was a step up to have a home separate from their work, which they were buying on the never-never. It was an entirely new concept for people like them to own their own home – eventually. Everyone’s ambition was to have a detached house and we were on our way with a semi. A long street of identical pebble-dashed: two beds, boxroom, bathroom and, great luxury, separate loo, upstairs, and two rooms and kitchenette downstairs.
We went stealing turnips together, playing kiss chase and sliding off haystacks and romping in the cowslips. The Gileses were never fussy about when I came home, so my life was wild and free. I began to enjoy the country. I lay face down on the grass drinking in the smell of the earth, listening to the insects and grasshoppers, feeling the sun on the back of my neck and knees. If I was sad I had a secret hillock where, if I ran down it as fast as I could, my cotton frock flapping on bare brown legs, my spirits would soar into gasping delight.