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article imageShameless materialises into Doctor Who universe

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jan 11, 2011 in Entertainment
Tonight’s episode of the Channel 4 drama series Shameless, sees Frank Gallagher (David Threlfall) regenerate into the famous Time Lord from the BBC’s Doctor Who.
The scenes will form part of the second segment of a week-long storyline involving the disappearance of Frank who, as head of the Gallagher clan, is the show’s lead character.
Last night’s episode – the first of season eight – saw a drunken Frank vanish from Manchester’s fictional Chatsworth Estate, in which the drama is set, in a sequence that was lifted straight out of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
In the second episode, tonight, Frank will be seen dressed as the fourth Doctor – as he originally appeared in Doctor Who played by Tom Baker in 1977/78 – complete with his trade-mark curly brown hair, extra-long multi-coloured scarf and floppy felt hat. Frank’s first wife, Monica (Annabelle Apsion), will be at his side in the guise of the Doctor’s companion, Leela – as originally played by Louise Jameson, 1977/78.
According to the Sun, it’s “a dream sequence, [where] scrounger Frank, [. . .] has to make do with a grimy portaloo for his Tardis”.
In Monday night’s episode, Frank was seen talking to one of Shameless’s longstanding characters, Lillian Tyler (Alice Barry) – a Doctor Who fan – wondering whether she was off to “another bloody Doctor Who convention” because of her silvery attire. In a previous episode, Frank referred to his soon-to-be wheel-chair-bound mother-in-law as Davros, creator of the Daleks!
Who's Shameless?
The spoofing of Doctor Who follows the gentle rivalry that appears to have been built up between the two shows over the last few years, as, each year, Doctor Who and Shameless vie for the Best Drama award at the National Television Awards. This year will be no exception, as both series have been nominated for a Best Drama award.
Several times in the past Threlfall's name has cropped up as a possible Doctor in the long-running British science-fiction series, but the 57-year-old actor has always said that he’s not interested. In 2004, when Russell T Davies became Doctor Who's showrunner, he asked his friend Paul Abbott – Shameless's creator and guiding light – to contribute a story. Unfortunately, Abbott had to decline the offer due to his other work commitments.
In 2004, Matt Jones – a writer on the Doctor Who and Torchwood TV series and for Doctor Who Magazine and the Doctor Who novels range – worked as an executive producer of Shameless. He also served as its producer in 2005, the year Shameless won a BAFTA for Best Drama Series.
Season eight of Shameless continues tonight, 11 January, at 10 p.m. British time, on Channel 4. Beginning yesterday, the first five episodes are being shown over consecutive nights all this week, with the rest of the series continuing weekly from Tuesday, 18 January.
Meanwhile, the first series of the US remake of Shameless – starring William H Macy in the Frank Gallagher role – began on Showtime on Sunday, 9 January.
More about Shameless, Doctor Who, Channel, BBC, David threlfall
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