Sheila Hancock: A Discovery of Witches star brands late husband John Thaw ‘aggressive’

Sheila Hancock: I don't want to be a burden for my children

Actress Sheila Hancock, 87, took a trip down memory lane as she reminisced on memories of her 29-year marriage to second husband John Thaw, best known for playing Inspector Morse in the popular ITV murder-mystery drama. John died of oesophageal cancer in 2002 when he was 60-years-old, and Sheila notes while many may remember him as a “lovely gentleman”, she explained jokingly that he also had an “aggressive” side.

He was an aggressive little so and so

Sheila Hancock

In a recent interview, she laughed as she recalled their time together.

“People love him as Morse and think, ‘What a “lovely gentleman”’ but actually, he was an aggressive little so and so,” she giggled.

The pair met in 1969 when they were both cast in the comic play So What about Love? in London’s West End.

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While Sheila was still married to her first husband Alec Ross, who died of cancer in 1971, Thaw declared his love for the actress after the curtains closed on the last show.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas star remembered that he was “embarrassed” when he told her how he felt.

“He was so embarrassed!” she recalled.

“He just thought that I was going out of his life and he wanted to say it.

“He also said, ‘I love you and I will for the rest of my life,’ which is such an extraordinary thing for somebody to say – but he did and it was lovely.”

Now, the 87-year-old lives alone, admitting she’s a bit of a “loner”.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic preventing us from gathering, Sheila explained: “I’m not very good in crowds. I don’t like big parties.

“I can’t do dinner parties because I can’t cook. So I don’t join in a lot.

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“I’m a bit of a loner now.”

She went on to tell Radio Times: “When John was alive, I didn’t want anyone else – I didn’t need anyone else. And the same with Alec.”

Recently, Sheila had a bit of a fright on-set of her new series on Sky1, A Discovery of Witches, and she feared she might have dementia after suffering a full day unable to recall any lines.

Worrying about the prospect of “not being able to remember anything and your brain panicking and trying to find the words”, she described the feeling as “terrifying”.

Sheila’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times [RADIO TIMES]

Fortunately, she soon regained her memory the next morning but it left the star with a stark decision to make.

The actress has now instructed her daughters to place her in a nursing home with Quaker values if she ever develops the disease and it leaves her unable to look after herself.

The actress, who was given a Damehood in the New Year’s Honours, has practiced the Christian movement religion since the 1980s.

Sheila’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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