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Old Rage: 'One of our best-loved actor's powerful riposte to a world driving her mad’ - DAILY MAIL

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I confess I’ve not read any of her three previous efforts but, after digesting this diarised account of her latter years, I can certainly handle a bigger dose of Sheila. Even among this starry crowd, her national treasure status is palpable; I’m surprised people aren’t elbowing me out of the way to get to her.

I may not have agreed with all her views - I did agree with nearly 95% of them - but I relished the fact that - as Sheila says - in this age of cancel culture, she was still able and willing to share her views - its as it should be! In December 2017 in the Diary entry Sheila’s Aunt Billie had been moved into a hospital and was apparently fading fast.

Home alone, classified as 'extremely vulnerable', she finds herself yelling at the TV and talking to the pigeons. 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. I spent all my time with a tooth prop in my mouth, a device that was supposed to help with your vowels.

It’s 20 years now since Hancock’s second husband, John Thaw, died of oesophageal cancer – the same disease that took her first, the actor Alec Ross, 31 years earlier – and I wonder if the isolation born of Covid-19 painfully reinforced the state of widowhood. It was the best thing for her that he left, because she went to university and became a very reputable scholar.As one of many who found cathartic comfort in Sheila’s book Just the Two of Us, this is another incredibly honest and heartfelt read. Funny, feisty, honest, she makes for brilliant company as she talks about her life as a daughter, a sister, a mother, a widow, an actor, a friend and looks at a world so different from the wartime world of her childhood. Hancock discovers many reasons for joy and optimism - and you're quite likely to find yourself nodding in agreement with her. She is irreverent and funny when she refers to politicians and entertaining when she looks back at different actors that she has worked with over the years. Was really looking forward to this book as I love Sheila's straight talking and not phaffing and this didn't disappoint!

There was much to admire about the diary style reflections of Sheila in her 80s eg rants about Brexit and the impact of Covid. Her gift for directly communicating the open-heartedness and spirit of adventure with which she confronts her life . Absolutely brilliant book and certainly reflects many of the feelings I and my friends felt (and are still feeling) during Covid and even now. There are eight grandchildren, all of whom, at various points during the lockdown, stood on Hancock’s patio and merrily “shouted” at her.Following the death of her husband, John Thaw, she wrote a memoir of their marriage, The Two of Us, which was a number one bestseller and won the British Book Award for Author of the Year. Have to say I skipped through some of her real rants but being an avid reader, I have never given up on a book in my 73 years. At Rada, where Hancock trained to be an actor, she and Shani Wallis (best known for playing Nancy in the 1968 film of Oliver! But six months later I went to a place where I used to get my nails done, and there it was, hanging on the peg, as if to say: how dare you leave me behind?

In my opinion, I did feel there was too much ranting about politics and Brexit for my taste, but it’s clearly a passionate topic for her. What I loved most of all though was the sense of a long life, the witness to events - a world war, and to stars of the stage from long ago…Kenneth More, Kenneth Williams, James Mason. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.so rapidly over the last few decade but Sheila’s “Old Rage” is a steadfastly honest piece of writing. This book however is like a diary, where Sheila has mixed what has happened within that year and flips back to her past younger years of what happened. So refreshing to read a book with a person's views and opinions written down exactly how they said them and felt them - she wrote the book as herself and didn't try to be anything or anyone else - loved it! Its pages would, she hoped, describe fulfilment and contentment as well as how best to keep your aching back straight (believe me when I tell you that her spine would induce awe in even the sternest pilates teacher). She doesn’t shy away from telling her own opinions and that’s missing in todays world when everyone is so scared of saying the wrong thing.

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