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Tue Feb 26, 10-11.05pm, C4

By Phil Harrison
Series eleven, episode one
As the final series of ‘Shameless’ begins, does the Chatsworth Estate still know how to throw a party? Well, yes it does. But increasingly, it’s one of those parties where there’s sick in the bathroom sink, fag ends bobbing in every half-finished drink and someone’s having a psychedelic meltdown in the corner. In other words, it’s been fun, but it’s clearly time to leave now.

‘Shameless’ is now almost entirely about the Maguires who’ve gone from being cookie-cutter hard nuts to the heart of the show. It’s a weight they can’t carry – tonight’s opener involves that old chestnut, the paternity crisis. Might Jamie really walk away from the firm now he knows how tenuously related he is? More to the point, would it really matter if he did? ‘Shameless’ is stumbling over the finishing line rather than enjoying its lap of honour. A pity because this once-exhilarating show deserved better.

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