Frank Gallagher (Shameless)

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Frank Gallagher
Shameless character
Portrayed byDavid Threlfall
First appearance13 January 2004
Series 1 Episode 1
"Meet the Gallaghers"
Last appearance28 May 2013
Series 11 Episode 14
"End of the Line"
Created byPaul Abbott
Introduced byGeorge Faber
ClassificationFormer; regular
Home2 Windsor Gardens

Vernon Francis "Frank" Gallagher[1] (born 26 January 1960) is a fictional character from the British Channel 4 comedy drama, Shameless, portrayed by David Threlfall in the UK version, and William H. Macy in the US version. The character appeared in 136 episodes in total.

He is father to 9 children and stepfather to 2 children.


Frank's hallmarks are drunken rants on a wide variety of literary, historical and philosophical subjects, usually returning to how decent, hard-working people, among whom he erroneously seems to count himself, are discriminated against. Frank frequently quotes Shakespeare, the Bible, references international current events and uses poetry and soliloquy to express his feelings or view, as he does at the start of each episode. Thus, in spite of his drunken ramblings, sometimes he does come across as being well-educated owing to the issues he raises during his interactions with others.[2]

Frank is an unemployable alcoholic, and the son of Neville (John Woodvine) and Sarah Elizabeth Gallagher (1935–1972). He was married to Monica Gallagher (Annabelle Apsion), with whom he has seven children: Fiona (Anne-Marie Duff), Lip (Jody Latham), Carl (Elliott Tittensor), Debbie (Rebecca Ryan), Liam (Johnny Bennett), Stella (Nikita Brownlee) and Ben, and one, Ian (Gerard Kearns), to whom he is de jure father. He also has two children with Sheila Jackson (Maggie O'Neill), Nigel and Delia, and is the father of Monica's half-sister, after sleeping with Monica's mother, Joan Dallimore (Anne Reid), at Monica's birthday party and impregnated her. He has two grandchildren, Katie Maguire (Bethany Thompson) from Lip and an unnamed grandson from Fiona when she left in Series 2. During one of Frank's drunken rants, it is implied that he got many girls pregnant in school. Although this is never elaborated upon, it is unclear precisely how many children Frank has actually fathered.

Frank was apparently convicted and sentenced to imprisonment several times in his youth. He claimed to have been incarcerated in Strangeways Prison. It has not been mentioned what exactly were the reasons for his string of past convictions.

Frank became an alcoholic shortly after his first wife Monica left him for Norma Starkey (Dystin Johnson). He then left the younger children in the care of Fiona, and moved in with agoraphobic Sheila. Often known to make a fool out of himself and shirk all responsibility, Frank nonetheless shows signs of loving his children. He can offer good advice, for example saving Liam from being taken into care when a parent was needed. When he is rendered completely sober by a new drug, Frank appears reflective and even quite intelligent, wondering why Sheila would add to her problems by marrying a mess like him. We also understand his character a bit better when Frank's father pays a visit and treats his son in a condescending and abrasive manner. Frank's father shows extreme sympathy towards Sheila and even takes care of the twins. It is also stated that his father did not always treat Frank kindly when Frank was growing up.

In early series Frank comes across as a drunken bully, even headbutting his son Ian on one occasion. Most of his children initially hate Frank for his drunken bullying ways. Lip and Ian are never scared to show their feelings towards him, and even physically attack him on a few occasions. However, his middle daughter Debbie shows sympathy throughout the series when her father is either in serious trouble or presumed dead, something which has happened three times to date. The family have generally warmed towards him more as the series has progressed, mostly because he isn't bothering them hugely on a daily basis. However, Debbie finally grew sick of taking care of the family, and cleaning up after Frank in particular, and left to join the army after series 6, after he told her that he'd rather have Fiona back. Frank and Liam came into serious conflict in series 7, when Liam was forced by circumstances to take over Debbie's former burden as the de facto head of the family. At one point, Frank headbutted Liam, and a furious Carl had to be restrained from beating Frank to a pulp. Frank finally softened towards Liam when Liam threatened to commit suicide.

In series 7, Frank falls for a librarian named Libby Croker (Pauline McLynn). Libby believes Frank is a man of the arts and he encourages her to rise up against her library closing, which leads to a violent protest and her imprisonment. When Libby is released from prison, she tries to find him, but her upscale appearance causes various characters to warn Frank that the DSS is after him. Finally, they meet again, and although Libby is initially put off by his poor character and the frosty reception from Liam, she and her mother move into the Gallagher home. Frank and her mother soon set up a mutual loathing society, with Frank painting her bedroom a bright yellow just to keep her awake. However, he must also endure the endless put-downs from Libby's mother, Patty (Valerie Lilley), who uses a wheelchair. In Series 8 Frank is kept hostage in a psychiatric hospital by former wife Monica's girlfriend, part of Monica's plan to snatch her family back from Libby and prevent the pair from getting married. On Frank's escape, the pair stay unmarried and he eventually loses Libby in Episode 13 after cheating on her with Letitia Powell's (Kira Martin) headmistress (Annie Wallace), and then insulting her afterwards for writing to an imaginary friend.

In series 8, Frank is ready to get married to Libby and he goes missing on his stag night. Libby starts putting up posters because of his disappearance. Carl and Chesney Karib (Qasim Akhtar) find a video on the internet; it is Frank having sex in public. Libby walks in and sees the video. In the feature length 100th episode Frank is accused of beating an old lady who is well known on the estate for her scratch-card winnings. Frank suffers a blackout and throughout the episode has flashbacks of that evening. Not knowing if he actually carried out the attack he hands himself into the police. Carl is convinced Frank is innocent. He digs into the events of that night and finds that a local gangster's brother had actually carried out the attack. Frank, along with Kev Ball (Dean Lennox Kelly) devise a plan to work with the police and cut a deal with the gangster that sees Frank set free. In Series 10 he gets a job at a fast food restaurant after being faced with threat of his benefits being cut off if he doesn't seek employment.


  1. ^ Abbott, Paul (24 November 2009). "Frank Gallagher Character Profile". Channel 4.
  2. ^ Wightman, Catriona (25 June 2010). "Threlfall enjoys playing Frank". Digital Spy.