SEX, drugs and benefit fraud… how Shameless! It was the revolutionary gritty drama that Channel 4 was best known for back in the day.
Every January in the early noughties, there was only one show worth watching at 10pm on a Tuesday and it was utterly groundbreaking.
Shameless showcased the raw reality of council estate lives, sprinkled with comedy and chaos. It starred the likes of David Threlfall, Tina Malone and even Hollywood superstar, James Macavoy for a brief stint.
Shameless started in 2004 – a year after the networks long running gritty soap opera Brookside was axed in 2003 due to falling viewing figures when Channel 4 started to see a financial return from its biggest entertainment juggernaut Big Brother.
The publicly-owned network wanted to highlight the same social issues that Brookie dealt with, but after the watershed, and boy did the former Mersey TV producers go wild with their new found post 9pm freedom.
Shameless was like a soap opera – but set on one of the most deprived Council estates in Manchester. Initially filmed on location in West Gorton and at the Pie Factory Studios in Salford it later built a whole backlot estate set in Wythenshawe as crowds made filming on-location increasingly difficult and expensive.
Shameless dealt with council estate addiction, poverty, prostitution, organised crime, mental health. You name it, the show dealt with it with gritty yet hilarious style. It wasn’t woke, it was an offensive ravaging of New Labour’s broken Britain.
It’s been TEN years since the last series was aired – and Politicalite thinks it’s time the show made a comeback.
We’ve had Brexit, Covid, the Cost of Living crisis, the reign of a new King and his wayward son’s bombshell new book Spare – what’s the Chatsworth estates take on all that?
What is Frank’s take on the Brexit result and the rise of the working class Labour red wall voting Tory and the chaos that followed? More importantly, how does Paul Abbott want to tell the latest bloc of British history, in his unique and gritty working class style?.
The series became Channel 4’s biggest drama of the late noughties, when working class people were really represented on telly.
The early seasons of the show also highlighted LGBT homophobia and bigotry within closed Muslim communities and also Irish communities, with the leading characters Ian Gallagher (portrayed by Gerard Kearns) – his character had a steamy affair with Musilim shopkeeper Kash (played by Chris Bisson – of Coronation Street and Emmerdale fame.)
It was a show that gave pleasure to millions of working class people – because they saw themselves reflected in a way that didn’t take the piss or humiliate them, but empowered them and showed a real human side to them behind the tabloid headlines of chavs, yobs, criminals , asbos and benefit cheats.
Channel 4 gave Shameless producers the creative freedom to be brave, controversial and break taboos – to adhere to the corporations remit with the Government where it is required to make innovate and bold creative risks’ that also champions unheard voices.
Family matters no matter your class or financial situation – and that’s what Shameless did best – despite the odds the Gallagher and Maguire clans faced – they still pulled together to help one another.
A pint and two E’s when your ready Karen, love.
Every single episode of Shameless is available to stream now on All4 – The UK’s biggest FREE streaming service.