Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

 You are in:  Talking Point
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 11:49 GMT
John Thaw: Your tributes
Actor John Thaw, star of Inspector Morse and The Sweeney, has died at home at the age of 60.

He had been battling cancer of the oesophagus and died at his home in Wiltshire with his family around him.

He first became well known as the tough-talking, no nonsense Detective Inspector, Jack Regan in The Sweeney.

However, his most successful role was as the cerebral Inspector Morse, based on the books by Colin Dexter.

Send us your tributes for John Thaw.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

From heavy roles to light ones he was always convincing

Judith MacLean, USA
I first became aware of John Thaw in Inspector Morse. I was so impressed with his talent I wondered what other work he had done. I was amazed at how much of him we were missing here in the States. It is very sad that he died so young with so much work left undone. One of my favourites was A Year In Provence; it showed how diverse his ability was. From heavy roles to light ones he was always convincing. I lost my father a few months ago and know somewhat how difficult this is for his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Judith MacLean, USA

This is very sad news indeed. It is like losing someone you know and love. I hope these expressions of affection will ease the family's sorrow.
Susan Morgan, USA

When I heard John Thaw was diagnosed with cancer, I was truly sad for him and I was hoping and praying he would be able to beat this illness. However, other plans were made for him and John died, leaving all viewers including myself sad and at a loss. As an actor he was great, warm and convincing, I can only imagine how it would have been to have actually known him in person. My condolences for Sheila, his wife and his three daughters. I will miss you John, rest in peace.
Thyra Mulder, Canada

He was always welcome in our home

Pam Geregova, USA
He was a superb and genuine actor. I live in a small Iowa town, but I never missed a program starring John Thaw. He was always welcome in our home. He will be deeply missed. My children are ages nine and 13 and they know who he is.
Pam Geregova, USA

A tragic loss. A great actor whose contribution to television will be sorely missed.
Peer Snoep, Florida, USA

Thank you, John. You were a great actor. My deepest and most sincere condolences to his family.
Paul, The Netherlands

Oh how I will miss him as though he was a long-time friend. I couldn't even watch his demise in the final Morse episode.
Lily Kennedy, USA

He always drew you in and kept your interest

Mary-Ann Goodier, Cheshire, England
Yesterday was a sad day when we lost one of our greatest actors. No matter what character he played he always drew you in and kept your interest. He will be missed by many.
Mary-Ann Goodier, Cheshire, England

My deepest sympathy goes out to his family. John Thaw was quite simply the best.
Milo Bray, UK

The coolest actor of them all and a pleasure to watch.
Rob Fisher, Bristol, UK

I am deeply saddened by the death of John Thaw. I thought he was a wonderful actor. My thoughts go to the family, who have lost such a wonderful man at such a young age.
Anna, England

Goodbye Guv'nor.
Stephen, UK

There was a quiet unassuming tenderness about him

Cathy Doherty, N Ireland

I have grown up watching John Thaw regularly in various roles but the most prominent was Morse. In school we would talk frequently of him and how much we all adored both Thaw and Morse. To me he always seemed warm and reminded me of my dad. There was a quiet unassuming tenderness about him. I always made a point of watching all his TV performances, I just wish I had seen him on stage. I cried for Morse and now I find myself fighting back tears for John but only because I am in work. It feels like a friend and family member has died. To Sheila and family - he touched us all and our hearts go out to you all. He will be sorely missed.
Cathy Doherty, N Ireland

How do you find the words to express how much someone has touched your heart? Especially someone you've never met in person. John Thaw was such a person. I loved Inspector Morse, but it was John Thaw who made him come alive. The world has lost a truly gifted actor. Knowing Morse was gone, well, I could take that as long as I knew John Thaw was still walking around in this world, sharing his gift with all of us. God Bless you John Thaw. And thank you for the wonderful memories.
Renee, USA

I feel sadness and sorrow knowing that the best of people, John, has been taken from our midst, knowing through his work, what a good man at heart he truly was. Love and sympathy to Sheila from an old Hammersmithite.
Colin Thatcher, England

People say they will remember John Thaw as Inspector Morse, but he will be remembered also for his part in the Sweeney, probably the best cop series in the seventies, and Goodnight Mr Tom in which he was brilliant.
Peter Walker, Berks UK

John Thaw's remarkable ability as an actor was to make you truly believe that his characters were real. No one can walk through Oxford, see a red Jag or order a pint of real ale without thinking of Morse, and that in itself is a tribute, when so many celebrities make so little real impact on the public. Through his characters, he seemed a lovely man, and private though his life was, we all feel that we know the man himself at least a little. I wish his wife and daughters every comfort at this sad time, and hope that celebrities everywhere will learn from him. John Thaw could hold his audience in the palm of his hand, whilst still retaining great dignity, genuine ability and the respect of all who knew him and his work. May he rest in peace.
Helen Townsend, England

What a top man John Thaw was! I met him, many years ago, in a chip shop in Oxfordshire, when he was filming an episode of Morse. He had a couple of my chips while he was waiting for his own. We chatted idly for a couple of minutes, as if we'd known each other for ages. I'll miss him!
John, UK

I am extremely saddened to learn of the death of the magnificent actor, John Thaw. As a young teenager, my first experience of John Thaw was as the tough Detective Inspector Jack Regan in "The Sweeney". I really enjoyed his other, more sedate characters, such as "Inspector Morse", and "Kavanagh QC". British film, theatre and television has lost a true great, and will be very sorely missed.
Barry Patrick, Northern Ireland

Through the years I've been hooked to Morse mainly because John embodied the character. He made him real and the struggles he faced were struggles that you and I can face. He was Morse in everyway. But I also enjoyed his acting in other roles. A great actor has died and he will surely be missed by his wife and children. I wish them all the best.
Mia Hiemstra, the Netherlands

I felt such personal loss last night when I watched the news about John Thaw. He did not just play on the small screen - he entered your home. Will missed by all. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Trudi West, London

He was a superb actor

Glenn and Heather, Canada
We felt so sad when we watched the final episode of Inspector Morse. However, our sadness has been surpassed tonight when we read of the death of John Thaw. He was a superb actor who made Inspector Morse a character who we felt we actually knew. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family.
Glenn and Heather, Canada

Thank you, John, for everything. My sincere condolences to all your family.
John Crowther, South Africa

John - you entertained us and you enriched us with your work, go in peace and thank you. Condolences to the family
Brian Mathew, Mozambique

I remember as a young lad having a "The Sweeney" annual from a jumble sale that was one of the best ever reads. That show was, and still is, a classic. As Morse there was no comparison - truly brilliant. When the likes of John Thaw pass you surely know their unique contribution to their art.
David Parker, Seattle, US (ex-pat)

John Thaw was the Sweeney!

Mike, Singapore
The Sweeney was quite simply one of the best shows ever made.... John Thaw was the Sweeney! A terrible loss of a brilliant actor...
Mike, Singapore

Thank you for many hours of great entertainment. May you rest in peace. Thoughts and prayers to the family of John Thaw.
Mike Minogue, New Zealand

John Thaw was a outstanding actor, one of the best of his time. He will be sadly missed by all who enjoyed those riveting TV shows.
Tony Hywood, Malaysia

You didn't just watch John Thaw act. You felt the feelings of the characters he played.
Richard Stansfield, UK

I'm sorry John Thaw has been taken from us at such a young age he was a great TV and Stage actor. My sympathies are with Sheila Hancock and their family.
John Thomson, Scotland

A truly great actor

Matt Seymour, UK
I could never imagine John Thaw as anyone other than Morse. Then I saw Goodnight Mr Tom, and I couldn't imagine him as Morse. A truly great actor.
Matt Seymour, UK

What is there to say - John Thaw was simply the best. He was a fantastic actor no matter what role he was playing. As much as I loved Inspector Morse I think I will always remember him as Mr Tom from Goodnight Mr Tom. That was one of the best pieces of television that I have ever watched even though I sobbed my heart out at it. He will be very sorely missed and my thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.
Fiona, England

The cake shop in Marple has lost its most famous customer.
The early and tragic loss of John Thaw is a massive blow for British television drama.
Rodger Edwards, UK

Morse was one of my best of all times TV series, and also brought me a little bit of "home" into my house in Buenos Aires! I shall miss him dreadfully as I am sure that so will other "ex pats." My condolences to all his friends and family, and many thanks for his delightful work. God Bless.
Susan, Argentina

We should be thankful that John shared is amazing talent with so many

James, UK
We should be thankful that John shared is amazing talent with so many, for so long. I am a young viewer, and he was the greatest actor on TV, hands down. Expressions such as 'its Morse night' or 'we're in Morse country' arose through his extraordinary talent. John Thaw is a part of British heritage and will never be forgotten.
James, UK

My wife and I greatly enjoyed Mr. Thaw's work as shown on our TV screen. He was a joy to watch. Such a sad loss and at such a young age.
Malcolm, Cayman Islands

It is difficult to put into words the feeling of loss, I cried as I heard the news this morning. He was a sublime actor, and with Kevin Whately created one of the best acting partnerships ever seen on screen. It is a terrible injustice for him to have died to soon.
Katherine Turner, England

It feels as though we have lost a very special member of our family with the passing of John Thaw. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. Good-night Mr Tom, sleep well.
Jan, New Zealand

I just saw the pilot episode of Inspector Morse last week in a re-run over here. It has added poignancy now. It was best Detective show ever and Morse was a great comedy double act with Lewis. I also loved the Sweeney and his other works. I'll have an ale (good ale from a good pub) for him this weekend.
Keith Stubbs, Australia

A fantastic actor - as Morse he was unforgettable. He brought the character to life in a way that has never been done before or since. A very sad loss for us all.
Gideon Kay, UK

How tragic that John should have lost his fight with cancer. He will be missed so much by so many. Heartfelt sympathies to Sheila and his family.
Jill, UK

He played flawed anti-hero heroes with majestic ease and total conviction

Martyn, Wales
There was no finer actor on our small screens as dear John Thaw. He played flawed anti-hero heroes with majestic ease and total conviction. We, the viewing public have lost a true and trusted friend. Sincere condolences go out to Sheila and family for their sad loss.
Martyn, Wales

John, the finest screen actor of your generation ..... you will be sadly missed.
John, UK

When I was at school we were routinely forced to go and see Shakespeare's plays. They had always seemed worthy rather than inspired to me until I saw John Thaw at Stratford Upon Avon - he had a means of bringing the piece to life brilliantly, and my view of the theatre hasn't been the same since. His TV work was of course excellent at its best and my thoughts are very much with his family at this appalling time for them, but to me he'll always be the bloke who woke me up to a whole new world of literature. 60 is far too young; rest easy, John, you've earned it.
Guy Clapperton, UK

When a man like John Thaw dies, it reminds me of my father who died almost nine years ago. When someone passes away who is dear to you, it is always a very sad thing. But I always enjoy to be reminded of my father, and to relive the memories he left behind. So although John's passing away makes another remorseful day, I am looking forward to the next time when my wife and I will turn the television on, sit down, make ourselves comfortable, and enjoy another rerun episode of Inspector Morse. Thanks to John's brilliant acting I am sure I will never be bored.
Jacco Burger and Sandra Voormolen, the Netherlands

I recall a few years ago when I was a serving officer in the Metropolitan Police, London, a seasoned detective once remarked to me that he wasn't sure whether The Sweeney was based on the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad or whether the Flying Squad modelled itself on The Sweeney. A touching tribute to the acting skills of John Thaw.
Ian Dunsmore, Indonesia

John will be missed in life, but will remain in our hearts forever

Janet and Grant, Scotland
Like the rest of the world, we cried at the loss of Morse, and today at the loss of a man we love so dearly. He has left us the greatest memory, that at the touch of a button, we can see, hear and still be emotionally involved with, thanks for those memories. John will be missed in life, but will remain in our hearts forever.
Janet and Grant, Scotland

The death of Mr John Thaw, a great actor, is a great loss. I barely got over the death of Morse and now the man himself has left us. My deepest sympathies go to his family, friends and fans. He will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.
Nicole Hoekstra, Netherlands

I am sad to hear today that John Thaw has died. I loved to watch his programmes and his wonderful acting when I lived in the UK. You knew the programmes would be worth watching if he was starring in them.
Marie, Spain

He brought so many great hours of television into our home, he became a kind of English uncle to us. We wish his family all the love to give this loss a place in their live.
Jan Nillessen, The Netherlands

John Thaw stands out clearly as a role model for the actors of today

Debbie Wilmot, UK
I was very upset to hear this wonderful actor had died. I'm not a sentimental person, and I don't normally care too much for 'celebs', but John Thaw stands out clearly as a role model for the actors of today. He was a very professional man, and a great actor. He kept his private life just that - private. And above all, he carried himself with an air of dignity that puts him head and shoulders above the vast majority of other actors, British or foreign.
Debbie Wilmot, UK

I've come to love John Thaw over the 15 years that I've been in England. He was the best and I shall miss him.
Tracy Hopkins, England (American)

I don't know what to say, I just feel sad. I'll forever remember the sentence; "Lewis, don't fuss"
Diana, The Netherlands

I just can't find the words to express the loss that the country has got to be feeling. John Thaw was one of the finest men in the world. I love Inspector Morse, would watch one every day, and it's hard to take in that this man who has portrayed the Inspector with such passion and excellence isn't with us anymore. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.
Danielle Corey, Northern Ireland

John Thaw made such an impact upon the television crime scene and yet his loss is akin to losing a member of the family.
Tarique Chowdhury, Oxford, UK

Fantastic Actor, Inspector Morse was a superb series. He will be missed.
Gareth Field, England

The passing of John Thaw deeply touches me. He was an outstanding actor, not only as E. Morse but also in movies like "Out of the blue". His appearances on Dutch television were always a moment of happiness for me. He will never be forgotten.
Petra Booij, The Netherlands

He was simply a joy to watch.
Nigel, UK

I'm really sad to hear that John Thaw has passed away. When I came this country 4 years ago I started to watch his two dramas Morse and Kavanagh and I felt he was a great Actor. I am sure many people (British or foreign) who watched his programmes will be feeling the same as I am. We lost a great actor and a great man. Also I'd like to send my sympathy to his wife and children. God bless him.
Bilal Sarioglu, UK (originally from Turkey)

He will live on as long as there are railway arches, Jaguars, and The Times crossword!

Derek Steer, England
Truly sad news - I have grown up with John Thaw ever since Monday nights and "The Sweeney" re-defined television police drama. But he will live on as long as there are railway arches, Jaguars, and The Times crossword! And what other actor has not one, but two immortal themes to jog so many happy memories? Thanks, John Thaw, and condolences to his family.
Derek Steer, England

I saw John Thaw playing Sir Toby Belch in the RSC production of Twelfth Night at Stratford in 1983. For a few hours I was mesmerised by his towering presence on the stage. Before that too, in the Sweeney and latterly in Morse, he was totally in character, totally believable. A great actor. Thank you John.
Nick Hearn, UK

My sympathies and condolences go to his family

Tony Martin, UK
Before tonight, I only ever cried when two famous people died - John Smith (the Labour leader) and Princess Di. The news of John Thaw's death today has now made that number three. Inspector Morse was, is and will now forever be simply one of the best TV series ever made. My sympathies and condolences go to his family.
Tony Martin, UK

John Thaw was simply one of the best actors around. He had so much of his life ahead of him, and it's a bitter blow to see him snatched away so soon. He will be sorely missed - may he rest in peace.
Maria, UK

It is a major loss. John Thaw was a weekly guest in our house for a long time. We shall sorely miss him.
Mirek Kondracki, USA

You realize your own immortality when actors who have delivered great entertainment pleasure, leave before the final act should be over. John Thaw left before the curtain had time to come down. An actor's actor. He was Inspector Morse, he played roles so profoundly that you believe they were one and the same. Heaven just got a great actor who will be brushing shoulders with the greatest of this and the next world. Miss you John!
Nick Ashton, USA

A great loss of a fine and genuine actor. Our condolances to his family.
Helen Dunn, Australia

John Thaw will live on in our memories, as Mister Tom, Jack Regan, Morse and as the lovely guy he really was. The acting world and the 'real world' will not be the same without him.
Nigel Bedrock, USA

A great actor and a great loss. For me, his talent was demonstrated by the characters Jack Regan and Morse. Both policemen and yet so diverse. Regan, the hard gritty detective that represented 70s Britain, and Morse, the sophisticated Oxford detective who always seem to be on a higher plain. My thoughts go out to his family at this time.
Nigel Tregoning, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.

Quite simply one of the best! An actor of outstanding quality and a wonderful British icon.
Amanda Spooner, Australia

John - thanks for being hard in The Sweeney and thankyou for being so intelligent in Inspector Morse. All actors shall learn from you.
Michael Dupree, UK

What a loss! John Thaw was a fine actor. There is a vacuum that cannot be filled.
Arri London, EU/US

He consistantly brought fine performances to our screens. To me, he was one of those actors who, that if you knew he was appearing in a programme, you knew you were gauranteed quality and pleasure from it.

Shaune UK
He was one of the few actors who combined the rare talent of popularity and depth. His portrayal of Morse made the series and the number of other roles he popularized was testament to his versatility. I enjoyed watching him and find it sad that there will be no more to see. Thankfully, he left behind a great body of work so, in a sense, he'll always be around. Thanks John.
Neil, Thailand

Ever since the late 1980's, John Thaw as Inspector Morse, gave us a few hours of exceptional acting. The story line was second to his credible and enthralling depiction of a tormented ,but erasible policeman. Here in the USA, we have few who could match his performances. He will be sorely missed. His passing will dim the lights for all who enjoy a good story delivered by an exceptional actor.
Steven Traub, USA

my thoughts and prayers go out to sheila & the girls. They have lost a wonderful husband & father. the world has lost one of the finest actors of our time. god bless & keep you john.
pat chapman, canada

I remember meeting at a Children`s Christmas charity do which they invite many famous stars which was held in London. And it was In the late 70`s when i was about 9 years old that I met John Thaw, I found him to be a lovely man.
Jean-Paul Irtelli, Brighton England

A great man has passed and we are all grateful to the service he gave us as an actor. I would like to show my appreciation to the media, who in his last few months allowed him to be with his family in peace.
Andy Coleman, UK

It is sad to lose one of our finest actors. He consistantly brought fine performances to our screens. To me, he was one of those actors who, that if you knew he was appearing in a programme, you knew you were gauranteed quality and pleasure from it. A fine actor who deserved every accolade he recieved. He will be sorely missed on our screens, but I am sure he will be missed even more by his family and friends and my deepest and sincere condolances go to them at this time of greatest sorrow. God Bless.
shaune, UK

What a terrible loss. John Thaw will be remembered as one of the most genuine actors to ever embrace the medium. My heartfelt sympathy goes to his family who must miss him terribly.
su rickett, Canada

good men and suberb actors of the old school are few in his ever changing world, the death of a true britsh gentleman is a great loss to all who knew him both on screen and personnely
Sue, Australia

I cried when Inspector Morse died, and I cry now when the man who made him so much a part of our lives has now died.

Deborah, USA
This afternoon, I suddenly thought of John Thaw, a man I have admired for years and I hoped that he was recovering from his illness. I have just seen the terrible news on here that he has died and I am really shattered. He will be with us for years to come in his many roles. My thoughts are with his family at this time.
William Burton, UK

my daughter was privilaged to work with John Thaw after being selected with a few of her friends from her oxford school to appear as extras in an episode of Inspector Morse. He made the girls feel welcome and put at ease with his jokes and kind smiles, and they all remember him with great affection. A great man and actor.
Jane, uk

John Thaw was the greatest tv actor this country has ever seen. His versatility in the roles he played was second to none. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family
vicki, uk

The world stopped when "Inspector Morse" was shown on PBS. I cancelled dates, changed appointments, and turned off the telephone. I shall miss John Thaw. I cried when he died as Morse, and I feel a deep sadness now that he has died for real. My sincere condolonces to his family.
Rebecca Tinsman, usa

John Thaw, a legend, a gentleman, and the best catchphrase in english police drama. i will always think of Regan when i hear the phrase "shut it!!
Wayne, New zealand

A tragic loss. I used to watch the Sweeney as a child. But, he will always remembered for those catchphrases.Like you're nicked, son and shut it. You have left some best shows. We will always remember you.
Gary Hunt, England

John Thaw was an amazing actor. Good at what he did, but in the minds of the nation, never typecasted. A sad loss, he will be sorely missed by all - His talent, ability and wit were coupled with a down-to-earthness that made him so loved. A talent like his is rarely seen and may he live in memories of fabulous broadcasting for many years to come.
Helen Parkin, England

I cried when Inspector Morse died, and I cry now when the man who made him so much a part of our lives has now died.
Deborah, USA

See also:

10 May 01 | TV and Radio
Bafta honour for John Thaw
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories