The BAFTA winning screenwriter, Paul Abbott, paid a special tribute to last week’s Coventry Conversations talking about the evolution and unveiling some secrets of the critically and commercially acclaimed Shameless series.
Starting off with an intriguing opening by the Shameless David Threlfall, Abbott explained that against all odds the TV production keeps gaining audiences that gets posher and posher: “I honestly thought we’d only get away with first seven episodes of it”
The formula of success to keep on going is hard and complex and a reason for it is because ‘’it still looks like something we haven’t got anywhere else on TV”. The fact that seventy five percent of the cast has never appeared on TV before also made a difference: “We just put people in that were right for the part and I think that anonymity of the actors helped the series gain credibility down the line”, explained Abbott.
The main purpose of the series, to capture the base line of the ecological culture of those people and making them look real and that way approachable to the audience is part of the running up TV hit. Abbott added: “It’s not about the sex, it’s not about the swearing, it is actually about making all that part of the ecology of people who have to survive.” Writes Radina Choleva and Natasha De Silva…
He pushed the drama frontiers by building on a higher ABC Middle class audience. With “most new drama, which is ever so polite”, Abbott goes totally against the norms of making viewers feel comfortable by creating material “that will take audiences to a place they didn’t know they wanted to go”.
Describing how a character is created, he confessed of his previous failures to write one: “you’ve got to tunnel under and go back to the character you were in that story. You can never ever stand where you are and write a character, you have to go right inside”.
Questioned on why not a famous TV writer like him being in a situation where he can easily retire, he stated that writing is not only about money: “I don’t think people realise how compulsive writing is. You can earn £30,000 from writing one script for shameless but you have to work so hard for it.”
During the Conversation an explicit preview from the series of the following January and preview of the US adaptation of Shameless were shown.
As a conclusion Abbott advised the students that, “whatever landscape you have to train in, you end up with the same fundamental requirement of learning how to tell a story”.