Angeline Ball talks Shameless and her new character, Gloria Meek

by Lynn Connolly

Former EastEnders actress Angeline Ball – who’s also starred in The Commitments as singer Imelda Quirke – has been talking to Channel 4 about her new role as hairdresser Gloria Meek in the new series of Shameless.

When asked what Gloria’s like, Angeline said, “She’s quite a feisty woman, she’s strong and self-made.

“She’s got her own little business, running the hairdresser’s on the Chatsworth Estate.

“She would be party to a lot of information, because of the classic thing of hairdressers being a bit like psychologists.

“She’s a good friend of Mimi’s and Karen’s, and of all the women, really.

“We don’t know much about her past, but that will probably come up soon – but she’s not a new resident, she’s always been there, you’re just getting to see her now…

“She’s strong, independent, doesn’t suffer fools gladly.”

And of Gloria’s brother, ex-priest Dominic – who’s played by another former EastEnders star, Steven Lord – Angeline said, “He comes in in about episode six. He’s an ex-priest. She’s always had to look after and take care of him.

“Any time he gets into trouble he always lands up back on Gloria’s doorstep. They have a very loving, very caring relationship.

“They look out for each other, but they can drive each other mad at the same time.

Then, when asked how she’s coped with a Manchester accent, given she’s Irish, Angeline said, “That was quite a challenge. It’s always terrifying coming into a new series, especially something as brilliant and as well-established as Shameless.

“But the accent was a big challenge. But I sort of prefer being Mancunian, because I can separate myself from Gloria.

“Visually she’s very unlike me, and I think it adds when I can put on this different accent.

“That’s what I’m in this business for – I love constantly changing my look, my accent, all that kind of thing.”

And when asked if she’s watched previous series of Shameless, Angeline replied, “Absolutely. I think it’s fantastic. It’s wonderfully written, wonderfully acted, and I think the filming and the editing is just incredible.

“It’s very tight, it’s very energetic. I watched it from the get-go.

“I don’t really watch television that much, but if I’ve been home and it’s on, I will sit down and watch it.

“I think it’s unique, and it’s set a certain precedent for that type of drama.”

Finally, when asked how she’d settled in to the cast, given many of its stars have been on the show since it began, Angeline said, “I felt like a new girl at school. Everyone’s so well-established with their characters, and I was a bit scared of them and a bit overawed.

“But everybody made me feel so welcome – I have to say, hand on heart, this is a really, really wonderful cast and crew. There’s not a bad egg amongst them. There’s no egos.”

The new series of Shameless starts on Monday 9th January at 10pm on Channel 4, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at Angeline in The Commitments.

She is of course the blonde backing singer in the middle, and the singer on her left is Maria Doyle Kennedy, who’s recently starred as wicked Vera Bates in Downton Abbey…

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.