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Subject: 'I'm not a dreary cow' - Sheila Hancock


Author:
Leila
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Saturday, November 29, 09:55:38am

Hiya All

I have just found this aritcle on the The Guardian, website, basicly the took Sheila into a room filled with clippings of her life and asked her to write an article. there is a film on the website for people who can access it.


'I'm not a dreary cow'
How does it feel to look back at your life through the eyes of others? We invited the actor Sheila Hancock - who never reads her own press - to look through the newspaper cuttings of her life and gave her the chance to set the record straight

I always made it my business not to look at my newspaper cuttings, so it's a bit of a shock walking into a room full of them. On the whole, I think journalists have been kind about me, but they do make me sound a bit of a dreary cow. There seems to be so much suffering in my life. Right from the start, the focus is all death.
In 1971, my mother died of cancer and within a year my first husband Alec Ross died, also from cancer. Of course, it was a terrible time for me, and it did change me. I lost my religion, for one thing. As a child, I was deeply religious and went to church every Sunday. But after mum and Alec died, I got really bored with talking about the love of God and I thought, I can't be bothered. I was no longer interested in who caused it and why did it happen, I just thought, if somebody's suffering, let's do something about it, and if I'm suffering I should pull myself together rather than thinking somebody up there is going to help me. So I became a humanist and later on I became a Quaker.
In 2002, my second husband John Thaw died of cancer of the oesophagus, just as Alec had done, and there I was on the suffering treadmill again. Poor Old Sheila, Tragic Widow, that kind of thing. Some of the headlines right from the start are so sober and pious.
And yes, I felt awful, and I felt sorry for myself and I missed John terribly, but that is certainly not all of me. All the time, I've been working and doing shows - and having fun a lot of the time. I suppose I have always had a sense of duty, and wanted to help people, but I'm much larkier in real life than my cuts suggest. There's a dreadful headline from one interview - "She tells the desolate that all things are possible; that things might become better." I sound like Mother Teresa. I've never been as nice or as selfless as that.
In lot of ways, I've been selfish. There's a Relative Values I did with my daughter Ellie-Jane in the Sunday Times, and she gets it just about right. She says, "Because she's such an old cow she wants to interfere with everything; if there's something going on she wants to do it. Like writing. So now she's writing and she hasn't just stopped with writing a book; now she's decided she wants to write for television so she goes on a course for television writers." It's true, and my children suffered for that. I was always going off on something, and they were neglected. It's not that I actually left them, but I did do my own thing a lot. Then again, I had to make a living. John started to make money eventually, but at the beginning of The Sweeney I was still earning a great deal more than him through musicals such as Annie, but the children were battered around a lot by our relationship and careers - metaphorically, that is. There's another headline from Ellie-Jane saying, "I despised my mum when I was a teenager." And we certainly did have our problems. I remember telling her that I loved her but didn't like her. But that's the past. These days I get on great with all three girls.
When John and I married, it was before The Sweeney and he wasn't very well known. We got a copy of Who's Who and John looked up Sheila Hancock and there was a bit about me and then he looked himself up and it said: "John Thaw, see Sheila Hancock." He was so furious. But I always knew he would be successful, and that was important to me. My first husband Alec was a very good-looking man, but by the time he came out of the war, his sort of acting was no longer in demand - although he was a working-class boy, he was actually very good at suave handsome-men parts. I began to get successful when he was out of fashion; it was agony to watch him. He never said anything about it, and he wasn't jealous, but I couldn't really enjoy my success because I would say, "No, I'm sorry, I've got to go and see my husband," because I didn't want to be out drinking champagne when he was at home.
There's a quote from John that I had never seen until today. "The best thing I ever bought for five quid." He's talking about me. Well, the marriage certificate. Cheeky sod. He could be fierce, but on the whole he was a gentle soul.
So much has been written about our relationship. A fair bit of it by me. The only reason I wrote the book The Two of Us was because I received a letter from somebody saying they were going to write a warts-and-all biography exposing him as an alcoholic. I thought if I wrote an honest book about him and me, nobody would want to publish a hatchet job from an outsider. And it turned out that way.
In the late 1980s I got cancer, and thankfully recovered. We were in the news again. The thing is, I can't keep my trap shut. If somebody interviews me I tell the truth. I'm not very good at dissembling. There was a tabloid headline from 1995, "John and I split up when I had cancer - now we know we could never live apart ..." At that period, John was drinking quite heavily and our marriage was very dodgy and we were constantly splitting up and then coming back together again. I tried to pretend that things were fine, but didn't make much of a job of it. We gave interviews pretending that we were together and the minute the journalists left I probably said: "I'm off, I'm off, I'm leaving you and I'm not coming back." It was a very tempestuous relationship. And I really miss that.
My career started off in revues and theatre, and on the whole the critics were kind. Funnily enough, the nastiest review I ever received was when I was in a play with John before we got together called So What About love? It was the worst he received, too. There was a famous critic called Harold Hobson and he came to see it and the review for me was, "She is unbearable to the eye and unendurable to the ear," and John's review was, "I dreaded his every entrance." We used to quote it to one another if ever we got a bit uppity; I'd say, I dread your every entrance.
Looking through my cuts, one thing is pretty obvious - journalists are more interested in my life than in my work. Maybe that's a bit sad, but then again it does get boring when actors go on and on about their method and motives.
What amazes me is that, at 75, I'm still working regularly. Last year I was in Cabaret, and I recently played the batty seaside landlady in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. Early in my career I did a lot of comedy, and that was great. Then the roles became a bit serious. Perhaps that is to do with how I was perceived - tragic, serious Sheila again. I loved being the sister of Catherine Tate's foul-mouthed Gran in her TV sketch show.
These days, I rarely survive a play. I always play old ladies, most of them on their last legs. It pisses me off a bit. On stage, I could get away with playing quite a bit younger with makeup and good lighting.
But there's always been one rule for men and another for women in the acting world. In sitcoms particularly, wives are always much younger than the actors who play the husbands. At one point I was told I was too old to play John's wife in A Year In Provence. True, I was 10 years older than him, but I didn't look it.
Looking back through the decades, I find the old pictures of me interesting. I never watch myself in things because I always think I look so hideous - I've never ever seen myself on TV or in movies. But now I think, what a shame because I wasn't that bad looking, I was quite nice, and yet like all women I was hung up about my appearance. I really did have quite a good figure.
I think I was always a great appreciator of female beauty - if not my own. In one of the newspaper cuttings, I said, "Apart from John, I would rather spend time with another woman than a man. Apart from the fact that I need men for sex, I could easily have been a lesbian." I think that's true, I do very much like women. But it is a rather unfortunate way of saying it - as if men were walking dildos. Maybe I didn't say it quite like that at the time, but I probably did. It comes across as rather ruthless.
Personality wise, I don't think I'm much changed over the years. I'm still as curious and willing to change my mind as ever. That's why I find all the old interviews with me a bit disturbing, because I read an article where I've said something and think, "What? I don't think that! What the hell did I say that for?"
Women of my mother's generation grew old quietly and uncomplainingly. But I do think this is changing. The generation that are going to be old now are going to remain narky and campaigning. They're not going to be prepared to sit around a television in a nasty chair and be drugged and behave themselves.
That's become something of a recurring theme in my more recent interviews - that we can be old and lively and good fun. Women are still expected to behave in a certain way as they get older - you're allowed to be maverick and different when you're young, but when you're older you're expected to be wise, to be a granny, to be a widow. That's all bollocks. We still have our appetites, our humour, our ambitions. The other day I was on Paul O'Grady's television show and some of the Olympic team were there and there were two gorgeous guys on and there was Paul and I both drooling. There was a picture of one in the nude - a very carefully taken picture - and he was beautiful. What a piece of work is man!
The thing that has always surprised people most about me is that I love fast cars - and I still do. Why should things change just because I'm getting old? Of course, there's plenty to be sad about in life, but there's still all the good stuff - fast cars, lust and laughter.

Article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2008/nov/26/sheila-hancock-television

Love
Leila
Replies:
Subject: Message from Janet


Author:
Theresa H
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Thursday, December 04, 03:31:19am

Hi all. Janet has asked me to remind you all that she has not disappeared off the planet Ė just from the Forum, her Blogs and other internet activities. BUT ONLY TEMPORARILY.

She asked me to apologise that she hasnít been able to get on to those sites for a while, but that she will be back when she can and really misses keeping up her Thaw related activities.

Janet's lively kitten Bluey is still keeping her on the hop which aggravates her bad leg even more. So when she gets a break Janet tends to catch up on her rest rather than get on the computer. The freezing UK weather hasnít helped her health problems either!

But we keep in touch by text - and phone occasionally Ė and Janet is keeping her spirits up and assures me she will be back as soon as she can! I told her that of course all her Forum mates understand her situation and just to come back when sheís able.

Thanks
Theresa H
Subject: A grateful viewer from Argentina


Author:
Francisco
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Sunday, November 23, 03:38:10pm

Hello form Argentina, here "Inspector Morse" is a classic now. It's viewed trough DirecTv by a half million people all Saturdays and is a real succes.
Thanks for your effort in compiling all.

Kindest regards
Frank
Replies:
Subject: Just me


Author:
meyer martine
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Thursday, November 20, 12:06:56pm

Hi Theresa finally I could order the book from WH SMITH but as they don't sell it directly in their Paris bookshop they had to order it. I will get it this saturday.
Thanks for letting me know about this book
Replies:
  • Re: Just me -- Theresa H, Monday, November 24, 03:04:53am
Subject: Sheila Hancock Interview from New Zealand.


Author:
Leila
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 06:42:18pm

Hey All

Sorry not been around much but I was nearly hit by a car, and when i got out of the way feel on my knee, and I have some serious damage to my knee, so been spending a lot of time at the doctors trying to get it sorted out! however I have found this aritcle from New Zealand, an interview with Sheila about Just me.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10542226

Enjoy,

Love Leila
Replies:
Subject: Rembering Ray Thaw


Author:
Theresa H
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Saturday, November 15, 04:04:53am

Today is the anniversary of Ray Thaw's birthday on 15th November 1944. Rest in Peace Ray and best wishes to your family who will be remembering you today especially.

You and your contribution to this site are not forgotten by your brother's fans.

Regards
Theresa H
Brisbane, Australia
Replies:
Subject: about John in France last news


Author:
meyer martine
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Friday, November 14, 11:20:57am

I had some messages from Theresa telling me about the new book a life after one lost a major one. She asked me if it was possible to find it here in France but I didn't know about the book till she wrote to me this morning. As never the first book was translated and made known in France it is hard to know there is another one except for the french people who are found of John Thaw and read the Topcities John Thaw. I might find it in a bookshop in Paris the bookshop where usually I found all the st uff about John. And even the first book. While I was searching for some sites and about the last book I discovered on a french site that they sold in French the boxes of Morse Serie and Kavanagh and also it was possible to find "The Sweeney".
But unfortunatly we don't see more about John on TV in FRANCE and we don't have episodes from Lewis serie.

I let you know when I have time to look for the second book.
Replies:
Subject: Sheila's book in Australia


Author:
Theresa H
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Saturday, November 15, 03:57:48am

Just want to let you all know that Sheila Hancock's new book 'Just Me' is now also out in Australia. Lovely to see Sheila's smiling face peeping out from that elegant umbrella in all the bookshops here in Brisbane!

So far I've only seen it in soft-cover here. I hope it also comes out or is already available some places in hard-cover. A hard cover book makes a wonderful gift and something for oneself to keep.

Cheers all
Theresa
Subject: Love and Death, Sheila Hancock Interview


Author:
Leila
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Saturday, October 25, 10:59:53am

Hi all

just found this interview with Sheila, here is a link to it as it is rather long to put on here

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/spectrum/Love-and-death--Sheila.4628286.jp

some very touching comments about John

Love Leila x
Replies:
Subject: A Platform with Sheila Hancock,


Author:
Leila
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Friday, October 17, 10:30:14am

The National Theatre, London, Wednesday 15th October 2008

As with the Platform in 2005, Sandi Toksvig, is chairing the event. Sandi introduced Sheila with the same story she told when I saw them in 2005, where she first meet Sheila when she was working on the hit musical Annie. Then she introduces Sheila, who walks on to a large cheer. They start by talking about Sheilaís house in France and why she went there after The Two of Us: My Life With John Thaw came out. Sheila explained that she was in deep depression after a Christmas. Sheila went to France however she ended up going further into depression because the house reminded her so much of John, she could also smell the smoke, of Johnís cigarettes. It was then she was offered to write for the Daily Mail. Sheila then spoke about her time in Italy. She talked about cooking classes, travelling with a group, and her reactions to different counties, she travelled too, I canít really say much as it gives away too much of the book, and I donít want to soil it for people who havenít read it yet.

I joined the queue to get my book signed and Sheila asked me to wait, we had a nice chat and I finally meet Clare Eden, Sheila's PA who I have emailed with since I was 18! I had a lovely chat with Sheila and the rest of the team around her. It was another lovely night, I really enjoyed myself and had a wondeful time. I am going to write a faller report when I have more time,

Love Leila
Replies:
Subject: Hey All


Author:
Leila (Happy)
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Monday, October 13, 05:43:28am

Hey All

Just thought i would let you all know today (Mon 13th Oct) is my first day back at uni, plus I go and See Sheila this week, I will write a full review for you all if you would like?

Love Leila x
Replies:
  • Re: Hey All -- Theresa H, Tuesday, October 14, 01:00:42am
  • Re: Hey All -- Theresa H, Tuesday, October 14, 01:09:06am
    • Re: Hey All -- Leila, Tuesday, October 14, 07:55:03am
  • Re: Hey All -- Theresa H, Tuesday, October 14, 11:26:33pm
  • Re: Hey All -- Janet, Wednesday, October 15, 06:17:08am
  • Re: Hey All -- Leila, Wednesday, October 15, 08:38:18pm
Subject: New edition to the family


Author:
Janet
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 06:21:34am

...And no i'm not pregeant!!

We have an 8 week old black and white male kitten, and his name is Bluey, we got him yesterday from an animal centre, and obviously he's going to take up an awful lot of our time, so you all might not see me around much for the next few months, until he's old enough to be left on his own, and not get himself in to trouble.

I will post photos of him on my blog, when i get chance to upload them to the pc, he's just having a little sleep at the moment so that's why i'm on here.
lots of love Janet.
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