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

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

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

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Around her neck is a chain, on which there are five rings: her wedding ring, those of both husbands, and of her parents. Such an entertaining memoir, full of wisdom, wit and character covering the years from 2016-2021, when well-known British actor and star of theatre and television, Sheila Hancock (aged in her late 80s), shares her thoughts during the tumultuous years of Brexit and Covid. 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. 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!

Hancock as Mrs Lovett, with Denis Quilley as the demon barber, in Sweeney Todd at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1980. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. There are eight grandchildren, all of whom, at various points during the lockdown, stood on Hancock’s patio and merrily “shouted” at her. Hancock, who kept wondering why the producers hadn’t cast Judi Dench until she found herself lying in a freezing cold sleeping bag 2,000 feet up on the side of a mountain, believes she is the oldest person ever to have done this – though as she admits in Old Rage, the short flight in the helicopter that retrieved her from the summit was, in the end, far more terrifying than the climb.In her gut, though, she knows where she belongs: “If I see a gang of kids in the street I’m not a bit frightened. There are references to the aches and pains of aging, falls and other illnesses, but above all this is the journal of a woman fiercely engaged with life.

I enjoyed this, although I'm not a fan of celebrity autobiography, which is often very self indulgent. The book opens well with some cracking stories and I settled down for what I thought would be a really good read. Having lived through bereavement and been born and remembers the Second World War, she now finds herself lonely at times and her body is finally not doing that well now. Hancock discovers many reasons for joy and optimism - and you're quite likely to find yourself nodding in agreement with her.

I wish I wasn’t obsessionally work-oriented; that I didn’t feel guilty when I don’t work, or that my life is over. I really enjoyed the book but found it really quite angry and sometimes found that hard to merge with Sheila Hancock's Quaker faith but then I guess I learnt something there too - being a pacifist most definitely doesn't mean you're a walk over. 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. 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. 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).

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