Shameless has risen to fame, to become one of the most popular British dramas on screens to date. It centres on the life of Frank Gallagher, a clever but completely wasted alcoholic, and his numerous and rather dysfunctional family.
As the show developed across several series, it has expanded to take in the lives of other people on the estate too, including the Maguire family who are equally dysfunctional and trouble-making.
The Gallagher family live on the fictional Chatsworth estate in Manchester, a deprived council estate in the Stretford district. The initial series delved into the low life of layabout Frank as well as his six children, and their next door neighbours Kev and Veronica.
Veronica was played by Maxine Peake who has blossomed into one of the country’s most popular TV actors in series like Silk, Room at the Top and The Village.
Since 2009, though, the Gallagher family has largely disappeared from our screens, and the focus has shifted much more to the neighbouring Maguire family of Paddy and his wife Mimi, plus their three sons and daughter.
Lifting the lid on life on a council estate, Shameless has dealt with serious and sometimes taboo topics like teenage pregnancy and bullying alongside the ruined adult relationships, crime and drugs.
Throughout, the leading characters have been lovable rogues, Chancers more than criminals. And it’s the children who have often stolen the show with some superb acting and storylines.
The show has won Best Drama at the British Academy Television Awards and has been nominated for Best British Drama at the National Television Awards.
Perhaps the ultimate accolade is American TV picking the programme up as Shameless USA – although little remains of the original.