Credit: Shutterstock/John Thaw

I’m not an extrovert

In the latter part of the 20th century, there were few more familiar and more recognisable faces on British television than John Thaw’s. Indeed, thanks to repeats, the actor, who once claimed he was “born looking fifty” is still a regular presence on British TV today.

Thaw’s most famous role was that of Colin Dexter’s curmudgeonly crossword-loving detective Inspector Morse, a man Thaw saw as “a poor policeman, but a good detective.”

Manchester-born John first became a household name in the 1970s starring alongside Dennis Waterman in the hard-hitting London-based police drama The Sweeney.

His wife, Sheila Hancock, said John had been more like The Sweeney’s Jack Regan than Morse.

He ventured into sitcoms in Home To Roost, touched hearts in wartime drama Goodnight Mister Tom and had another primetime hit in legal drama Kavanagh QC. His film credits included Cry Freedom and Chaplin.

But it is for the role of Morse that he will perhaps always be best remembered.

“Parts like Morse don’t grow on trees,” he said. “He’s a great character.”