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.

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Tuesday 10:00 PM et/pt on Channel 4
9 Seasons, 126 Episodes - Returning Series
Comedy, Drama
Watch Episodes

Shameless (UK) Full Episode Guide

  • It's a big day for Mimi Maguire - it's her first wedding anniversary to Billy and they're going to renew their vows.

  • When Dom receives a cryptic text from an ex in desperation it prompts a crisis of faith and he turns to Frank for some major help.

  • Business is booming for Jackson and Shane, expansion is afoot and their future looks rosy. But when Jackson spots Shane giving leftover food to the homeless, all hell breaks loose.

Review Shameless (UK)