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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Old Rage by Sheila Hancock, read by Sheila Hancock.

Sheila Hancock looked like she was managing old age. She had weathered and even thrived in widowhood, taking on acting roles that would have been demanding for a woman half her age. She had energy, friends, a devoted family, a lovely home. She could still remember her lines.

So why, at 89, having sailed past supposedly disturbing milestones—50, 70 even 80—without a qualm, did she suddenly feel so furious? Shocking diagnoses, Brexit and bereavement seemed to knock her from every quarter. And that was before lockdown.

Home alone, classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’, she finds herself yelling at the TV and talking to the pigeons. But she can at least take a good long look at life—her work and family, her beliefs (many of them the legacy of her wartime childhood) and, uncomfortable as it might be to face, her future.

In Old Rage, one of Britain’s best-loved actors opens up about her ninth decade. 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. And yet—despite age, despite rage—she finds there are always reasons for joy.

©2022 Sheila Hancock (P)2022 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"The much-loved actor candidly shares the fear, joy and frustration she has found in her ninth decade." (Guardian, Books of the year 2022)

"Sheila Hancock reflects upon her life and career with all the winning candour and warm-heartedness we have come to expect from the legendary actress." (Waterstones)

"Sheila Hancock’s memoir Old Rage promises to be funny, feisty and honest." (Irish Independent, Books of the year 2022)

What listeners say about Old Rage

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  • Overall
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Engrossing story,so well written and read.

A much loved, so human, actress touches. us all in this well written and moving memoir. I so enjoyed reading The Two Of Us and also watching her on her recent televised canal journeys....and thoroughly enjoyed listening to her thoughts on life, love and lockdown ..and her rage at politicians and life in general ...in this great book OLD RAGE.Recommended .

4 people found this helpful

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What a legend!

Wonderful woman! Sheila Hancock’s compassion and wisdom shines through. She is so honest and writes and speaks beautifully.

2 people found this helpful

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Shiela Hancock for prime minister!

Brilliant. What a magnificent lady. Gives pause for thought along with great belly laughs at her descriptions of the idiots in power. Love. Love. Love.

1 person found this helpful

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Old rage... more power to those old ragers!

It is always a great pleasure to hear one's own passionately held views, being espoused and disseminated so fluently by someone more erudite than oneself... my head is a wee bit tired from nodding vigorously with every diary date Sheila Hancock enunciated.
This should be a Book at Bedtime... serialised in BBC Radio.. if it has not already been done...
if every old woman such as us feels like this, why can our voice not be heard????

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Old Rage

Wonderful book from the amazing Sheila Hancock. Her passion and kindness shine.
Beautifully read and totally absorbing.

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A joyous book

Enjoyed every moment!
I would loved to have met Sheila Hancock - read all her books!

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Rant Age

I much enjoyed The Two of Us and Just Me and so looked forward to reading this book. Sadly mostly a rant and therefore so disappointing

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Go girl!

Hope I have as much about me at her age. Unfortunately her optimistic prediction of the post pandemic world don't seem to be being realised.

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Wonderful shared memoirs of a lifetime and intimate account of lockdown frustrations

Highly recommend this listen to anyone mulling over their recent experiences of lockdown; despite being 30+ years Sheila’s junior I’ve realised all humankind shares more in hopes and fears than first thought. Great recounted stories from throughout her life which felt a privilege to have been shared.

Also laughed out loud at some stories such as street party jelly rabbits (which I have the same set of mummy and baby bunny moulds) with added current bums, won’t ever use them again without thinking of this.

Shall miss sharing my evenings and commutes with Shiela.

Thoroughly enjoyed

Ceri Pridding - Wiltshire

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Moving

I don’t know what I was expecting from this book and was surprised at my enjoyment as Sheila revealed her innermost thoughts about her life, career, husbands, getting old, children and most of all her politics. I found the book very moving in parts. For me personally, I could relate to so many things. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed it so much.