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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Thaw 'responding' to cancer treatment
John Thaw with wife Sheila Hancock
Sheila Hancock said Thaw "wants to get back to work"
Actor John Thaw is responding well to cancer treatment, his wife Sheila Hancock has said.

The Inspector Morse star, who was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in June, will return to acting as soon as he feels better.

"John is doing well and has responded well to treatment and wants to get back to work as soon as he is well enough," Hancock said on Tuesday.

John Thaw as Inspector Morse
Inspector Morse was killed off in 2000
The 59-year-old actor is one of the best-loved figures on British television, and found fame as detective Jack Regan in 1970s police drama The Sweeney.

He played Inspector Morse for the first time in 1987 and went on to appear in 33 Morse episodes.

Thaw received a Bafta fellowship in May, after previously winning two Bafta TV awards - both for his role as the Oxford-based detective, who was killed off last year in an episode watched by 13 million people.

Past trauma

In 1995 he began appearing as Kavanagh QC and recently recorded a radio play as Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Hancock, who has starred in EastEnders as Barbara Owen, herself battled with cancer but is in the clear after being diagnosed 10 years ago.

Her first husband, Alec Ross, died of the disease in 1971.

And their grandson Jack, six, suffered from a brain tumour last year although he is now said to be "out of the woods".

New role

Hancock was speaking at the launch of the BBC's autumn TV schedule in London.

She is set to star alongside Meera Syal, Timothy West and Stephen Tompkinson in a new mini-soap, Bedtime.

In it, she plays a disillusioned housewife who becomes involved in anti-globalisation demonstrations.

"At the moment I am enjoying ducking and diving. I like variety and I like not knowing what is round the corner," she said.

See also:

19 Jun 01 | TV and Radio
Thaw undergoes cancer treatment
10 May 01 | TV and Radio
Bafta honour for John Thaw
17 Mar 00 | C-D
Oesophageal cancer
17 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Colin Dexter: Morse the pity
27 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Thaw's double TV victory
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