Raise a glass also to actor John Thaw who for many years played Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse in the television series “Inspector Morse”. John lost his battle with cancer at the age of 60 on February 21st.


Born in Manchester on 3rd January 1942 John, along with his younger brother Raymond, was brought up by his lorry driver father after his mother fled the family home when John was just four years old. It was while still at Ducie Technical High School that he was encouraged by his drama teacher to become an actor and he was accepted into London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of 16. While still a student, he made his first film appearance in “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner” in 1962.

Fresh out of RADA in 1964 at the age of 23 he landed his first major role as Sergeant John Mann in the television series “Redcap”, a show about the special investigation branch of the Royal Military Police, starring opposite Diana Rigg. Finding himself in great demand, he appeared in many major TV series’ and plays as well as a number of films including “The Bofors Gun” in 1968, “Praise Marx And Pass The Ammunition” in 1970 and “Dr Phibes Rises Again” in 1972.


The early seventies saw John working on the West End stage in the comedy production “What About Love?” opposite the great theatrical legend Sheila Hancock who soon became his wife. In 1974 he was cast as Detective Inspector Regan in the hugely popular TV series “The Sweeney”. A full-length feature film was made in 1977, which won him the Evening Standard Best Film Actor of the Year award. An equally successful follow up was made the following year.


As the seventies gave way to the eighties, John found himself working alongside Diana Rigg again in a production of Tom Stoppard’s “Night And Day” and in seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford upon Avon in “Henry VII” and “Twelfth Night”.


John’s other very popular TV series was “Kavanagh QC” which started in 1994 and ran throughout the remainder of the decade. He had a charmed career indeed with many awards for his diverse performances. During his professional life of forty years on both film and television screen and in the theatre his many triumphs could not be listed within the confinement of these pages. The aforementioned are just the tip of the iceberg.


Keith Woods