Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw” as Want to Read:
The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Two of Us: My Life with John Thaw

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  623 ratings  ·  67 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Two of Us, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Two of Us

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  623 ratings  ·  67 reviews

Sort order
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A thoroughly good read, recommend it to anyone!
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.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, film
Better written and far more touching than I was expecting. Funny and honest and moving.
Helen Magee
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book, not quite what I expected, but that tends to be the case with biographies, you really don't know this person. Book was constructed with snippets of diary entries between the historical elements and make you feel like you are part of the writing process.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, favorites
I am usually quite picky about the biographies I read - 'celebrities' either have to be funny or done something I truly admire - I don't tend to read books about people who are famous just for being famous! And to be honest, I was never a huge fan of Morse or knew anything about John Thaw other that he was an actor and he died. And sorry to say, I was only vaguely aware of who Sheila Hancock was, in that I could pick her out of a TV show cast list, but wasn't a dedicated fan of her work. So what ...more
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Two of Us is a moving book about Sheila Hancock and John Thaw's lives. Born into working class families, these two treasures of the British drama scene struggled with a rough upbringing before making it in grand style. They got together after Sheila's first husband died of cancer, the same disease that would afflict John and take him away from her thirty years later. This biography is an hymn to their love - especially Sheila's unconditional love for her dearest late husband.

The book bears w
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
I just adored Inspector Morse and thought John Thaw's portrayal was "brilliant" as they say in England. But learning more about the man was a little disheartening and sad. Sounds like he was moody, withdrawn and pretty mean at times (not unlike Morse), absorbed in his own feelings and not caring about other's. Ah well, that is often the case with great actors. This book would be best for those who know a lot about British theater and early television than I do; it was hard to keep up with all th ...more
While the story of Sheila and John was an interesting and at times moving one. I found myself getting annoyed with Sheila. Her political views are very different to mine. The woman is a Labour supporter and likes Cherie Blair! No one like Cherie Blair! To much 'lets be nice to prisoners' rubbish. And the last chapter of the book is basically dedicated to why she disagrees with the war. Thats all very well and good but I'm betting most people did not pick up this book for that reason. Saying that ...more
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barry Hammond
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent double biography of Sheila Hancock and the great British actor John Thaw (of The Sweeney and Inspector Morse fame). Very much enjoyed her personal and somewhat offbeat memories of World War II and the days before the "swinging sixties." The power of the memoirs is amplified further by being intercut with her diary entiries during the last year of John's life and for the year of grieving after his death. It puts a personal and poignant spin on the memoirs themselves. A moving tribute ...more
Marie (UK)
I was a bit disappointed with this book. Firstly the format did not work for me. Hancock intersperses accounts of her life story with diary entries from John Thaw's illness, death and her mourning. So we are treated to 1930"s and 2000's concomitantly. Rather than being the two of them there is much more Emphasis of the life of Sheila Hancock than that of Thaw. It was not difficult to read but just did not really draw me in.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
My life with John Shaw was somewhat misleading, a lot of it was before him and after his untimely death. That said it was written very honestly and several sections struck a very personal chord.

I'm not an avid reader of autobiography or biography but this wasn't too long and although it did mention well known names it didn't seem to be name dropping.

I learned quite a bit about a very good actor and it kept me interested, for this type of book that's as good as it gets for me.
Tracy Canuck
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this book back when I was still really sad about John Thaw's death. It was too soon and this sadness cast a pall over the book for me. At times there was too much info about a man I only knew as an actor. I didn't really want to hear all the negatives she had to say about him ~ I didn't want her ruining the image I had of him in my mind from watching him as Morse and in "Good Night, Mister Tom". Ahh, we'll, such is life and death and memories...
Nancy Thormann
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book turned out to be a good book if you can separate the diary entries from the biographical parts of the book. I've watched all the Inspector Morse shows and all the Kavanagh shows and I always suspected John Thaw of drinking heavily for at least part of his adult life. I didn't realize quite how much until I read this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Happy Hoofer
  • Some Other Rainbow
  • Queen Victoria's Gene Haemophilia and the Royal Family
  • Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings
  • Renaissance 2.0: Carnival of Characters, Crusades, and Causes
  • Poets in Their Youth
  • Petrocelli
  • Amantes y enemigos: Cuentos de parejas
  • The Writing on the Wall (Varg Veum, #11)
  • From My Mother
  • Dos mujeres en Praga
  • The Kindness of Strangers: The Autobiography
  • Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author
  • Justice and the Politics of Difference
  • Cole Porter
  • The Orton Diaries
  • David Livingstone
  • Sunny Side Up: a story of kindness and joy
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