The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker

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Sheila Hancock on sexism, classism and the double-edged sword of being seen as a "strong woman"

Season 8, Ep. 81

Today’s guest is nothing less than an acting legend. Although she probably wouldn’t have any truck with that. Dame Sheila Hancock is that rare thing – a successful actor with working class roots, an 89 year old who’s still beating off offers with a stick and a woman who refuses to be afraid to speak her mind.


Sheila has done EVERYTHING from Shakespeare to sitcoms. A member of the National Theatre Company, she was the first woman to direct at the Olivier Theatre in her 50s and has been nominated for 6 Olivier Awards, written two novels and a loose trilogy of memoirs (the second of which was about her marriage to Morse and Sweeney legend, John Thaw). The third is Old Rage, which started out as a book about the wisdom and fulfilment of old age ended up…. not!


Ninety next year, Sheila is taking less prisoners than ever. She joined me from her living room to talk education and inequality, corruption, climate change and Brexit, suffering from the empathy “disease” and why being seen as a strong woman is a double-edged sword. She also told me what it was like being a working class woman in TV in the 1970s, how she learnt the consequences of speaking out the hard way and why she’s no longer bothering to conceal her rage. Sheila Hancock for PM!


You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including OLD RAGE by Sheila Hancock, Sheila's book recommendation, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!


And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/


The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

More Episodes

8/9/2022

Kit de Waal on race, class, privilege – and her exceedingly cool hair!

Season 9, Ep. 91
Today’s guest is the award-winning writer, Kit De Waal. Until she was 21, Kit had never read a book voluntarily. But once she started there was no stopping her. Kit started writing in her mid-40s and published her award-winning debut, My Name Is Leon, at 56. Since then she has used her success to work tirelessly to promote the voices of working class writers. Using some of her advance to set up theKit de Waal Creative Writing Fellowship(aka the Fat Chance scholarship!) and editing Common People, an anthology of working class writing.Now she’s turned her attention to her own childhood. Her memoir, Without Warning And Only Sometimes, is the story of growing up in poverty, one of five children with a Black father and Irish mother who brought them up Jehovah’s Witness…Kit joined me from possibly the most envy-inducing workroom I’ve ever ogled via zoom (and I’ve ogled a few!) to talk being single and reclaiming your own space at 60. We discussed race, class, privilege, the impact of a childhood spent not stepping on the cracks and why she hates that “fucking overused word resilience”. Plus why she’s not interested in a man on the downward slide, being a Tuesday friend and her exceedingly cool hair* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Without Warning And Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
8/2/2022

Julia Cameron on alcoholism, creativity and emotional sobriety

Season 9, Ep. 90
My guest today is the author of the cult bestseller The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron. Part book, part tool-kit, part spiritual guide, The Artists Way has sold over 4 million copies globally and has inspired countless artists, writers, and creatives including Elizabeth Gilbert, Alicia Keyes, Pete Townshend and many more.In the 30 years since that was published, Julia has written a movie, 7 plays and 23 books, including her memoir Floor Sample. Written in her late 50s she looked back over the first half(ish) of her life: her catholic education, alcoholism and drug abuse, her brief marriage to director Martin Scorsese, and her subsequent search for meaning, for herself, for home, ultimately for a way to be comfortably sober.Speaking from her home in Santa Fe, Julia shared her incredible journey from “just a girl” at Catholic school to The Artists Way by way of leaving Washington a writer and landing in Hollywood a wife. She spoke candidly about losing the love of her life, getting and staying sober, how the nuns were her introduction to women with power and how the morning pages transformed her life. Now 74 and 45 years dry, she says, she’s braver than ever.* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including The Artists Way by Julia Cameron and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me! Julia's recommendation, Creative Ideas by Ernest Holmes is out of print, but you can buy it here.* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
7/26/2022

Jane Fallon on embracing 60 and being a Botox hold-out

Season 9, Ep. 89
Have you always wanted to wreak revenge on your worst enemies? Those who’ve wronged you, conned you or just crossed you? Well, if you’ve ever lain in the bath (or on the sofa or wherever) fantasising about how you’d get your own back, my guest today is your woman! Jane Fallon - aka the mistress of the revenge romp!Formerly a TV producer (Jane gave us the era-defining This Life amongst other things), she did a massive handbrake turn at 45 after a flash of overnight inspiration (lucky her!) And chucked it all in to write a novel. Her debut Getting Rid Of Matthew was a hit and 12 novels later she hasn’t looked back. Her latest Just Got Real, looks at what it means to be unexpectedly single again in mid-life and tackles the world of online dating.Jane joined me to talk about giving voice to women over 40, how perimenopause induced her creative midlife crisis, why, for some reason, she thought she could get through menopause without telling anyone (hoho), the liberation of embracing 60, being a Botox holdout and how she trained herself to stop catastrophising. I’m grateful to Jane for telling me about the decision not to have children and her deeply held belief that she would have made a terrible mother.Oh, and BTW Jane, I'm still waiting for photographic evidence of that cartwheel!* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including JUST. GOT. REAL. by Jane Fallon and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.