From the Shameless script:
MIMI is bent over the table, Patrick is behind her. They appear to be having clothed farewell sex, doggy style. Mimi's face is red and sweating. She's panting heavily. During this we can hear police and ambulance sirens. Patrick stands and flexes his arm.
Patrick: Well that's the phone in, princess. You ready for the charger?
Mimi squints and inhales a long deep breath. Patrick continues with the operation.
Micky enters. Micky faints…
Today Tina Malone has just been filming the scene where Mimi's getting a mobile shoved right up her O2 but she's sat in the canteen on set, totally serene, eager to talk about the realism that Shameless portrays.
"I think the reason why Mimi works is that she's believable and very real, I know from our estate years ago" she explains "Big mams who had seven kids and would do far worse than Mimi would. Those women do exist, I remember them."
It's that evil glint in Mimi's eyes which Tina has perfected that takes the character away from being a figure of fun to someone you wouldn't mess with. And now that Paddy is losing it on smack, Mimi's coming to the fore as the strong woman keeping the family in one piece, even from jail.
"I wouldn't say Mimi is loveable, you wouldn't want her living next door to you and she can be vile, but she is extremely funny and extremely passionate about her kids in a strangely masochistic way. That's how they live. She's very much in control and the matriarch is massively important, it's descended from the Irish."
In this series, Mimi has become probably the central character watching her clan collapse around her. But when the Maguire couple first appeared in Shameless no-one was quite sure how she'd fit.
"I got reviews saying I looked like Tony Soprano in a frock, and that I made fat girls look like the Teletubbies" she recalls "I think it was bit difficult for people to take us on board because we were so huge and in your face but now we've settled down and I think we've become much more popular. They set us up as a tour de force and now you're seeing all that being stripped away and going wrong. Even if it makes me sound a bit of a wanker, I do feel like I'm in the best show on tv."
Having seen the latest series gather energy with every episode as it gallops along instilling the can't wait for next week factor, Tina's spot on. She's now one of the most high profile actors in the country. So how's it been, walking around Salford?
"It's been wonderful" she says "When us actors come here to film we are allowed to choose where we stay, and most go to Didsbury but I quite like the fact that Salford's got this kind of strange mix of really posh and really rough, and that's how I feel at home."
Originally from Toxteth, Tina's been living on Salford Quays for three years, and, despite supporting Liverpool, she's integrating, citing our joint Celt heritage as a binding factor.
While the former docks also reminds her of Liverpool, it's also the "incredible quiet" of the Quays that has also drawn Tina to Salford (all those empty unsold flats but that's another story…).
"I'm quite unsociable, actually, and fiercely private, the total antithesis to Mimi" she decides "I don't smoke, I don't drink – I've been sober for nine years - I don't do drugs, I don't party, I don't go out. I just stay in with my partner and my daughter and a cup of tea – Jeremy Kyle's life on the edge for me!"
Well if you'd been filming Mimi scenes all day, getting mobiles shoved up your rear, a cup of tea is wild relief…
"Friends and lovers may come and go but the clan remains…like it or not you're tied to the tossers for life…" Jamie Maguire
For Shameless Part 1 click here http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=81
For Shameless Part 2 click here http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=84
For Shameless Part 3 click here http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=94
For Shameless Part 4 Click here http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=96
For Shameless Part 6 click here http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=126
Photo by Jemma Cooper