SHAMELESS star Maggie O’Neill has filmed her final scene and left the hit Channel 4 show.
Actress Maggie, who plays “bonkers” Sheila in the Manchester comedy drama, says her farewells in episode three of the new series.
But there’s good news for fans with the arrival of Eccles-raised Ciaran Griffiths, who played Gary Best in The Bill.
Desperate housewife Sheila became Mrs Frank Gallagher in the last episode of the third series screened earlier this year.
Then Frank, played by David Threlfall, let slip that the wedding might not exactly have been legal.
Maggie has won plaudits for her portrayal of Sheila, who lives in a different universe to everyone else. She’s also always entertaining to interview.
“Even though it deals with a lot of taboos, is quite shocking and contains a lot of swearing, it’s all done in quite a fond way, without being sentimental,” she said once when talking about the appeal of Shameless.
“It’s not just younger viewers who are fans. I’ve had really old people come up to me, screaming with laughter about some of the scenes.”
Maggie also jokes that she was the actress who finished off ITV’s Peak Practice. Her character Dr Alex Redman was pulled over a cliff by a former lesbian lover in the very last episode of the long-running medical drama, just before it was axed.
Since then, she’s attracted a whole new wave of fans, including those who recall a classic Shameless moment she’d rather forget.
It featured Sheila wielding a large sex aid in an eye-watering moment for Frank (right). “It was right out there as one of the most challenging scenes I’ve ever done,” said Maggie, who received plenty of viewer feedback.
“I was on a train near Manchester when these lads got on and went. ‘Hey, it’s Sheila off Shameless!’ Then they started asking me where that particular item was.”
The centre of attention among a carriage full of bemused passengers, she giggled: “It was a bit embarrassing. I don’t want to be known for that. I’m a classically trained actress!”
As revealed in April, Shameless stars Maxine Peake and Dean Lennox Kelly, who play Veronica and Kev, have also left the show.
But fans should not despair. The new eight-part series, due on screen in January, will feature several new characters with storylines broadened to include more life on the Chatsworth estate.
One of the new characters is Micky Maguire, played by Ciaran, who left The Bill in 2005 after three years on the Sun Hill beat as Pc and then Dc Best (left). Part of the notorious Maguire family, Micky is described as a wannabe thug.
Coronation Street fans may also remember Ciaran as bad lad Dean Sykes, who checked out of this world when a supermarket armed robbery went wrong.
The Freshco siege saw Curly, Alma, Mike, Ken, Ashley, Fred and a whole trolley-load of other unfortunates held hostage by a pair of young villains.
It ended when Dean, brother of Linda Sykes, was shot dead by Weatherfield’s one-woman armed response force, Curly’s policewoman wife Emma.
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