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The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  705 ratings  ·  81 reviews
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. John Thaw was born in Manchester, the son of a lorry driver. When he arrived at RADA on a scholarship ...more
Published February 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury UK (first published June 6th 2004)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I can feel in this book written by his wife, also an actor, how much she misses him.
It come out through the pages.

John Thaw was one of my top actors.
I liked him in Kavanagh, Inspector Morse and Uncle Johns Cabin and more.
He played great parts.

He was wasted as a Lorry driver! He came right up through the ranks of life.
He truly was a bright light in the acting profession.

His wife did him proud with this book.
Ita Callagy
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The more people I lose in my life, the more I find myself returning to this book. The raw beauty and honesty of the writing, the beautiful poetry, and the blend between her diary entries of the present day and the past make it so easy to read, and so easy to feel like you understand somewhat what she went through.

For anyone who's lost someone who meant the world to you, this book will resonate. Sheila's writing is just so simple, yet so heartbreakingly eloquent, from her description of John's fi
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
This is an autobiography of Sheila Hancock entwined with a biography of her late husband John Thaw. It is a beautiful book, honest, funny and sad, as interesting about their lives before they met as it is about their lives together.

Not being a celebrity chaser I had not known that this couple had problems. I did not know about Hancock's cancer, or Thaw's drinking. Hancock's honesty about their problems, which lead to a separation, is very moving, and it was uplifting to read that after that blea
Pam Hutley
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the most beautiful and honestly written double autobiography. Funny and real. Tragic and wholly believable. Written by Sheila Hancock , second wife of John Thaw. The tales of their separate lives up to the point they conjoined are in their different ways a real story of growing into the actors life with its itinerant poverty and fear yet with humour at every turn. The luvvies, the ‘celebrities’ names we know so well are characters in the story each touching either Sheila or John and impa ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hancock’s book is a kind of double biography: the story of her life with John Thaw - to whom she was married for a number of years - and a rather more selective look at her own beginnings and career.
Both actors came from impoverished backgrounds and were fortunate to arrive in the acting world at a time when the influence of the RADA style was waning, and ‘real’ people were beginning to appear on stage and screen.
Thaw was a man who fitted television acting like a glove. Yet the more successful
Taran Hewitt
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to find this on the bookshelf in an apartment we were staying in on holiday in Italy. I needed a book to read and I liked John Thaw’s characterisations in various TV series. What a good find it was. I only read it in short bursts but every time I picked it up it pulled me back into this delightful story of a troubled but adoring relationship. Ms Hancock’s writing pulls no punches and is disarmingly honest at times, both about her own feelings and her second husband’s failings. ...more
Tina Marga
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book, I bought it at the airport of Vanuatu, second hand. I did not know anything about Sheila Hancock, but I adored Inspector Morse (played by John Thaw). Well, the book was not at all what I expected, and I was initially disappointed since Sheila did not say much about Inspector Morse, only that John Thaw became a drunk while performing, but nonetheless, I kept on reading. When finishing, I adored the book. Well done.
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of both John Thaw and Sheila Hancock and I was consumed by this window in on their lives and relationship. I absolutely cried like a baby through quite a lot of this.

It's a very real account of how they grew up, met and then fell in love and lived up until John Thaw passed away in 2002. The emotion and honesty throughout this book is equally breathtaking and heartbreaking. I can guarantee that you will fall even more in love with John Thaw than you already had.

A truly captivatin
Anne. Fothergill
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book so interesting that I could not put it down. I finished it within two days. It is about the relationship between Sheila Hancock and her husband the renowned actor John Thaw. I feel that Sheila tells it as it was warts and all. Johns battle with the booze his mothers abandonment of both him and his brother at such a young age. This affected him all his life. And subsequently John's untimely death from cancer and her own dealing with the grieving process. I would recomm ...more
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
i really enjoyed this book two and a bit autobiographies about people who i,ve heard of but didnt know much about didnt even know they were married till the book came out and i can just about remember sheila hancock from the rag trade must of been from the 70s as i was only born in 71. Well written and tries to understand johns mom as well who abandoned him as a child really but could be just fantasy only they will know the truth, must watch an old episode of the sweeney
I really, really enjoyed this autobiography/biography. Hancock writes well, and her life was fascinating. I loved John Thaw in Morse and Kavanagh so it was interesting to read a bit "behind the scenes." They had a bit of a tempestuous relationship at times - due in part to Thaw's drinking - but you could "see" the love they had for each other. I do feel for Hancock - to lose one husband to cancer is terrible, but TWO... From the SAME cancer... Heartbreaking.
Saz Gee
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. I always loved the subtle pain Thaw brought to Morse & have massive respect for the intelligent, irreverent, talented Sheila Hancock. I thought this would be a fond read but it was so much more than that. Sheila Hancock is a brilliant writer & I felt like I was hanging out with two incredible people. Loved every moment even if it did make me teary more than once. ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this double biography. The diary excerpts throughout the narrative rendered the story even more poignant. I know my mother was devastated by John Thaw's death & could never bring herself to read Remorseful Day, watch the final Morse episode nor read this book, so I have done them all for her.
It was really not what I expected, I had such high hopes for this as John is a great actor and man but I don't think this book is about him at all. I wanted to read about him but I got loads of crap read it in one night but I did skip a few pages. very disappointed.
Jackie Didymus
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and particularly liked the way Sheila Hancock had interspersed biography with auto-biography, memories and 'warts and all' facts with diary entries and the occasional use of poetry.
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great... and more so if you are acquainted w/ plays and the theater.... very interesting reading how Hancock deals w/ so much adversity in her life... too bad Frfx Co Library does not have this book!
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other
Such a truly personal double biography and written in a manner that keeps the reader enthralled. Two wonderful actors, sharing their best -and worst. A must read.
Clare Fagan
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Don't normally read biographies but recommended this one by a friend. Have to say I quite enjoyed it. It is cleverly structured with each chapter working chronologically through the lives of Sheila and John but interspersed with extracts from Sheila's diary in the year leading up to his death and beyond. Often these extracts linked with the past showing how history repeats itself.

Brought home how poverty stricken these actors were when just starting out in the 50s and 60s and how times changed w
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not sure if 'enjoyable' is the right word, but I found Sheila Hancock's openness refreshing.
I like the way she recounts her life before, during and after being married to John Thaw. Her early struggle to become an actress was an insight on a profession that often seems to be glamorous and the so-called stars overpaid for what they do. People like Sheila Hancock and John Thaw worked hard to achieve their fame and fortune. It seems they got through their various problems with ill health and Thaw's
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
For those who have seen the UK television series "The Sweeney" and later "Inspector Morse", you will be familiar with the characters played by the actor, John Thaw. Shelia Hancock was his second wife and quietly goes about detailing John Thaw's whole life, even though she didn't really know of him in his earlier days. To counter that she did her own research after John died and so built up a picture of his life as a boy and teenager.
The relationship between John and Shelia was wildly variable, f
Val Waring
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve read this before but thought I’d dip in again as I’m about to read John Thaw’s biography once more. I wanted to compare both sides of the story I suppose.

What is very apparent from the book is irrespective of their ups and downs Hancock loved Thaw very much.

I don’t think I’d realised just how much she’d been in. Really enjoyed it.

Jim Bowen
Sheila Hancock is a British actress, as was her husband, John Thaw. Personally, I suspect that Hancock was the "better" actor, while Thaw was more... "popular".

When John Thaw died, Sheila Hancock wrote a book about their life together. It's a decent read, if you're interested in either, or both, actors.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this ,read for my Book Club,was more stirred by the contemporary memories it reminded me of. Watched many of his TV episodes ...Not a book I would have chosen personally,so hidden gem and I better for it
irene irwin
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Comfort

Sheilas journey has helped me feel I'm not going crazy. Just 8 weeks from I lost my John. Can't seem to function but trying hard. Empathised with every word. Thankyou Sheila 💔💕
Cristina Reid
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although the series he was in in the Sweeny i always laughed and then again with Morse the way people portrayed, exotic series and he is a gereat credit to it, what a guy. I cried for days when died as liked him also.
Peter Burton
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A moving look at their lives before and after they met.Well written but obviously only for those who know them from TV and the theatre.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A thoroughly good read, recommend it to anyone!
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, biography
Better written and far more touching than I was expecting. Funny and honest and moving.
Gail Marchant
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book his told by Sheila with warmth for the man she loved & the man who made her life a misery when he was drinking - she balanced the happy times they had with sadness great book ...more
Audrey Carrick
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was a massive John Thaw fan and this is a fascinating biography that has been well written.
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Sheila Hancock is one of Britain's most highly regarded and popular actors, and received an OBE for services to drama in 1974 and a CBE in 2011. Since the 1950s she has enjoyed a career across Film, Television, Theatre and Radio. Her first big television role was in the BBC sitcom The Rag Trade in the early 1960s. She has directed and acted for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatr ...more

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