Posted 20 hours ago

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

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Glass in hand, she is resplendent: a walking, talking advertisement for a good haircut – this, she insists, is the real secret of eternal youth – and an abiding interest in other people. I was probably scared, disappointed it was considered a flop; feeling I hadn’t done good service to it because I’d suffered terrible stage fright. Old Rage by Sheila Hancock was a funny and excellent book and still looking great at OMG 89 years old and still got her wits about her.

At Rada, where Hancock trained to be an actor, she and Shani Wallis (best known for playing Nancy in the 1968 film of Oliver! She has strong opinions and is not afraid to express them but I share many of them so the book appealed to me. From Brexit to politicians to Covid she seems to be saying the world (and Britain in particular ) is a horrible place and she can't wait to get out of it. An excellent book which is good therapy if you need a good rant along with some interesting stories and anecdotes about her past and present.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.

Sheila Hancock shares her story and unflinchingly examines her life and all that comes with it, flaws, mistakes and all. Funny, feisty, honest, she makes for brilliant company as she talks about her life and takes an uncompromising look at a world so different from the one of her wartime childhood. 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!How “Brexit”, something she loathed, affected that scenario and its impact generally is emotionally covered. I spent all my time with a tooth prop in my mouth, a device that was supposed to help with your vowels. Published before the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and crowning of King Charles III, I wondered if she will follow up on the future of British royal monarchs.

Sheila Hancock definitely isn't letting things pass her by if they frustrate her or, as a country, we haven't learnt from previous experiences.

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. Views about Brexit, universal education, decent pay for NHS staff…punctuate memories of the author’s life, her family, her life on stage and the actors and mortals she has met along the way.

Sheila doesn’t mince words in giving her opinions on the state of world and national affairs, while at the same time coping with advancing age (which doesn’t please her either). Following the death of her husband, John Thaw, she wrote a memoir of their marriage, The Two of Us, which was a no.This is a lady who has seen World War, learned to use Zoom and WhatsApp, acted on stage with the greats and walks the deserted streets of London during the pandemic. I didn't get any of the humour that Hancock usually has when being interviewed or in her previous books. Home alone, classified as 'extremely vulnerable', she finds herself yelling at the TV and talking to the pigeons.

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