When Shameless first burst onto our screens over 10 years ago in 2004, no one could have predicted what an iconic and successful series it would go on to become.
After deciding to end Shameless after 11 series back in 2013, writer and creator Paul Abbott is back with a brand new drama, No Offence.
No Offence is a police procedural starring Joanna Scanlon (The Thick Of It, Getting On), Elaine Cassidy (The Paradise), Alexandra Roach (Utopia), Will Mellor (Broadchurch), Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner) and Colin Salmon (Arrow) who go above and beyond to bring down the criminal rabble in a crumbling cop-shop.
No Offence isn't trying to be Shameless, but there are some similarities which even Paul Abbott himself told us at the screening would be silly to ignore. The backdrop of Manchester is often shot in a very similar style to Shameless. The language isn't too dissimilar either at times, and for some, No Offence may actually offend. It's not long into the opening episode that Viv Deering says "They couldn't find a clit using a search engine" followed by mentions of wanking and dog semen.
Joanna Scanlan is the stand-out star No Offence, and you can't help but admire the way she plays Detective Inspector Vivienne Deering. Speaking at the screening, Joanna described the way Deering runs her station is "...like a madan runs a brothel!" She's the type of no-nonsense boss who lets nothing, and I mean nothing, get in her way.
She's rude, crude, confident and extremely powerful, four refreshingly new characteristics for a female lead on British television. But why wouldn't she be? She's in the prime of her life, she has a very important job that she's very good at and she has a great team behind her.
It's very much her matriarchal qualities that give her the power she has, and she has had to hold onto her femininity in order to gain any power in what is otherwise a very male-dominated world.
Viv Deering isn't the only strong female character in No Offence, in fact the show is very much driven by three strong female leads, Deering, Dinah and Joy. Detective Constable Dinah Kowalska is played by Elaine Cassidy and is strong, impulsive and passionate. More than anyone else, we get to learn more about Dinah's personal life than anyone else, for example, we learn in the opening episode that she's a single mum living in a house of three generations of women. I'm sure as the series continues we'll learn more of Dinah, her retired mother Magda, and her daughter Tess.
The final character completing the trio of strong, powerful females is DS Joy Freers, who is played by the very charismatic Alexandra Roach, who many people will know and love from Utopia. She's a nervous soul, fragile and coming to terms with her new role. In the opening episode we see she is given the sergeant role ahead of her colleague Dinah, a result no one expected. It's promised that as the series goes on, she does grow in confidence, even if the way she goes about her job is slightly different to those around her.
It's hard not to love Joy, partly down to Alexandra's brilliant performance and partly down to Abbotts fantastic writing. Speaking about working with Paul, Alexandra revealed:
"I first came across Paul Abbott at dram school. They told me to speak in an RP accent and that I should love Shakespeare and Jacobian plays. I was really homesick, I was living in Camden and went to a second hand book shop and there was series 1 and 2 of Shameless. I bought it and I swear that's what got me through my first year, because I'd watch James McAvoy and Maxine Peake and think - "This is what I want to do" - so Paul Abbott taught me that, without him even knowing!"
Other actors in No Offence include Will Mellor, Paul Ritter and Colin Salmon who play DC Spike Tanner, Randolph Miller and Detective Superintendent Darren Maclaren. I've only seen the first episode, but it certainly shows great promise, it's bold, brash and full of balls. And with Paul Abbott behind No Offence, I have no doubt the series will quickly become a must-see and the likes of Viv and Dinah will become as well-loved and iconic as Frank Gallagher from Shameless.