Watch Shameless (UK)

Shameless is a British series that follows the members of the Gallagher family as they deal with their money problems. Frank Gallagher, played by David Threlfall, is an alcoholic who is responsible for his family's poor finances. The burden of caring for the children and paying the bills falls on his daughter Fiona. Fiona resents being forced into early adulthood, but she resists opportunities to relieve herself of her responsibilities. Her younger brothers Lip and Ian share the closest relationship that is depicted on the show. Lip is an inexplicable genius, and Ian struggles with his burgeoning homosexuality.

Shameless is not realistic, and it is not supposed to be. Despite its surreal tone and unlikely courses of events, the show depicts the distinct culture of lower-class Manchester. Frank frequently rants at length about political and social issues, even though it is clear that he would never actually vote or make other positive contributions to society. His drunken speeches are hilarious and prove how out of touch he is with reality and his children.

The surreal nature of the show allows it to make observations that would be considered offensive through a more reality-driven filter. Mental illnesses are played for laughs, as is dire poverty. The Gallaghers have implied integrity because they are poor, which allows the audience to root for them even while they do morally wrong things for money or drugs.

The focus of Shameless has shifted somewhat as the six Gallagher children have grown up. Now a great deal of the plot lines center around the Maguire family. The Maguires were initially positioned as rivals to the Gallaghers. This shift was necessitated when the actors playing the older Gallagher children left the show to pursue more prestigious work. These forced shifts in the show's focus pulled the series away from its true origins. Shameless is based on the real life of Paul Abbott. Frank Gallagher, the Paul Abbott stand-in, no longer has young children whose lives are directly affected by his alcoholism. Shameless went from being a show that depicted one family's specific story to a more general statement about widespread poverty.

Shameless is notable for its raw production values and for being an early vehicle for the talents of film star James McAvoy, who played Fiona's boyfriend Steve for the first two seasons. Anne-Marie Duff, who played Fiona for those two years, is an accomplished stage actress.

Tuesday 10:00 PM et/pt on Channel 4
11 Seasons, 164 Episodes - Canceled/Ended
January 13, 2004
Comedy, Drama
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Shameless (UK) Full Episode Guide

  • Frank returns from jail to Chatsworth hoping for a welcome home party. However, he finds a new addition to the Gallagher brood - a new son called Ben, who survived a abortion attempt on twins. Will Frank finally do right by his family or free himself?

  • Things are looking up for Frank: Derilee has left her husband and joined him at the Gallaghers, becoming a surrogate mum for Stella and his job is going well. However, things are set to change forever when a gunman runs riot on the estate...

  • It seems Chatsworth may never be the same again when Mimi announces her plans to retire and move to Wilmslow to dedicate her life to charity. Is this the end of the Maguire's? And will a reluctant Billy be joining her?

  • Patreesha thinks she is the latest British music export to the States when her new musician boyfriend Louis promises her a lucrative singing career across the pond. But when Louis dies, she & Avril go to war over a large amount of money in his posessions.

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