From Patrick Marmion in the Mail Online:
For the majority of the past seven years, Sheila Hancock has been revered as a grieving widow.
After losing second husband John Thaw to throat cancer in 2002, she wrote a book about their relationship, The Two Of Us. Then came the sequel about her journey out of grief, Just Me.
Now Sheila, at 76, is headlining in the raucous, high-kicking musical comedy Sister Act. So is it more Irreverent Mother than grieving widow?
She starred in Annie in 1978, Sweeney Todd in 1980 and more recently in Cabaret in 2007 - for which she won an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
Sheila's success as a writer is all the more remarkable since she left school at 15. Although she never went to university, her intellectual ability was recognised by her appointment as chancellor of the University of Portsmouth in 2007 - of which she is fiercely proud.
There is seemingly no end to Hancock's workaholism. She is vice president of St Christopher's Hospice, an institution she first volunteered to work for after the death of her mother and first husband nearly 40 years ago.