Johnny Bennett

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The eighth series of Paul Abbott's council-estate drama gathers a little momentum with this second episode. Frank (David Threlfall) is still Awol after his hedonistic stag party, as it turns out with good reason: he appears to have fallen, via his stag misadventure, into a parallel dimension. Back in the real world, Libby (Pauline McLynn) is unhappy with Monica (Annabelle Apsion) for demanding custody of Liam (Johnny Bennett) and baby Stella. Continues every night this week before settling into its weekly Tuesday night slot.

Ed Cumming, The Telegraph, 11th January 2011

Lock your doors and hide your fivers. The seventh series of Channel 4's popular comedy drama series about life on the fictional Chatsworth Estate in Manchester sees the return of Broken Britain's irrepressible, straggly-haired poster boy - the effing, blinding, boozing, stealing, philandering and yet strangely huggable scourge of society, Frank Gallagher (David Threlfall). Or, in the words of his long-suffering son Liam (Johnny Bennett), a "job-shy, sponging waste of space". It's not hard to understand the success of this ribald, foul-mouthed series. In an admirable tradition that Channel 4 has appeared to make all its own, Shameless glories in the graphic social meltdown of its down-at-heel characters. This first episode alone features a burst colostomy bag, a breezily shocking murder, and the delivery of a baby on the carpet of the pub's floor. Celebrating his 50th birthday, Frank has reached the pinnacle of his professional life - community service as a lollipop man. As he helps children to cross the road with his high-visibility jacket and a fag in his mouth, Frank meets an alluring, Byron-quoting librarian, Libby Croker (Pauline McLynn), and thinks he's fallen in love. "For all I know you're a charlatan," she protests. "Heaven forfend," grins Frank. And yet, even with the writing still sparkling, the drama often staggers about like its brandy-swigging protagonist. One minute it's as gritty as The Street, the next it's as pedestrian as Hollyoaks. But are we glad to have Frank back? Absolutely.

Robert Collins, The Telegraph, 26th January 2010