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SALFORD ACTOR STEPHEN LORD GOES SHAMELESS
 

Star date: 6th February 2012 

LORDING IT UP IN SHAMELESS

Salford actor Stephen Lord makes a spectacular entrance in the new series of Shameless tomorrow night, starring as Dominic, a randy, alcoholic priest who arrives on the Chatsworth Estate in, er, biblical style.

We caught up with Stephen at the Langworthy Cornerstone to talk Salford, Somalian pirates and gangsters becoming reality show producers…

Full story here…


Shameless Shameless
click image to enlarge

So how does a priest fit in with Frank Gallagher et al on the Chatsworth Estate?

"Well, this week it is establishing the character, and it's a great establisher" says Stephen Lord, with a twinkle in his eye "Here's a guy who was a priest, he's now been ostracised …he comes out from a blackout at his sister's house and he's stark naked with an erection in front of three of her friends…

"So that was a good first day's filming" he laughs "Thankfully I pulled it off…"

We're sat discussing the ins and outs of Stephen's latest role over a baked potato in Chimney Pots Café at the Langworthy Cornerstone. An alcoholic randy priest he can take in his stride, after some smart parts that have included being stabbed to death as Jase Dyer in EastEnders, getting chased by Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Shepherd, and being kidnapped, abused and terrorised as the drug riddled star of his last feature film Desperate Measures.

Playing the part of the shameless priest, Dominic, is "an absolute gift" says Stephen…

"He's been ostracised by the Church due to his drinking and his sexual behaviour, and he decides to reconnect with his sister, Gloria, played by Angeline Ball…She puts him up on the Chatsworth Estate which he settles into quite nicely as he is a pretty dysfunctional soul. He can't help getting entwined into other people's lives and he's back onto the drinking and struggling to keep his cock in his pants…

"It's really interesting the different sides that are coming out playing him" Stephen adds "I'm thinking `Who the hell is he?' One minute I can understand him being religious and spiritual and there is sense of Jesus Christ in there, but at other times I think he's the devil incarnate."

The horny side of Dominic certainly appears when he hooks up with Shameless bloke magnate, Karen Maguire.

"He's took a shine to Karen and he's giving his interpretation of what he feels she should do with her life, which is very commendable isn't it?" Stephen smiles "Yes, there is a bit of an attraction there but I think he sees her almost like a Shirley Valentine, in terms of her being an interesting soul that need to break out because she's got huge potential. I think he also believes that his words of wisdom, or actually sleeping with her, might help her come out of her chrysalis and blossom into the butterfly that he imagines in his own head…"

Well, it wouldn't be a new series of Shameless without a new sex interest for Karen Maguire. Indeed, when we interviewed Salford actress Rebecca Atkinson on set a couple of years ago (see here), `Karen+shagging' subsequently became one of the biggest Google searches ever on the Salford Star website. We're talking thousands and thousands of searches. Never mind tinned up houses and Salford City Council misdemeanors, Karen in action in the Chatsworth footy team's changing rooms unfortunately scoops the lot…

"I was with Rebecca's dad this morning" says Stephen sheepishly "She's been great to work with and she's a fellow Salfordian. We have a lovely relationship on and off camera, so that's been a real joy. Plenty of good stuff on this job. Finally, after all these years I've been able to return to Manchester; and to be back living in Salford is great for me, being around family and grafting on a credible show…"

The `credibility' of Shameless is a sticking point in Salford, mainly for the show's portrayal of working class people. On one hand it's incredibly funny but on the other it gets a lot of people's backs up. 

"I can identify with that" says Stephen, who himself is from the Langworthy estate "I think that's why it's right to really scale the show down and I think they've remodelled it on how it was first set up. It wasn't a show that was ever on my radar which I think can be a benefit because I'm going into it with an absolute fresh perception. But I think they're moving it into the direction that's less sending up characters and more reality based. Obviously the characters have got to be entertaining, it's not a documentary, but hopefully they can get that balance right with this series and hopefully the next. I'm interested to see what people think of it."

The characters in Shameless certainly form an opinion of Dominic almost straight away, when he's caught shagging someone's wife. A "messed up spiritual programme" is how Stephen describes the wayward alcoholic priest's psyche…

"It's interesting because obviously some people in the community know he's a priest and immediately think certain things which are not necessarily true to the perception they might initially have – that's where there's a lot of irony and comedy and drama" he explains "I think people are trying to work him out but, because he's going about it all in a very open way, the consequences of his actions hit him pretty much imminently. Very early on people get the idea that actually he's clearly a bit of a wrong'un. But he doesn't take that on board – he believes that he's still practising the word of the Lord.

"So from one episode to the next you see the affects of what he does and how he deals with it" he adds "And, like alcoholism, you start to run out of options. I've laid a good few episodes down and the more I do the more uncomfortable it's getting for the character…"

While Dominic is a "gift of a part" for Stephen Lord, it's just one of a non-stop range of roles that have seen him recently playing a lover in the Channel 4 and E4 comedy Phone Shop, while the day after we meet he's off to Los Angeles to do post production on a film called Default, about the kidnapping of a CNN journalist by Somalian pirates, which is due out later this year.

Add this to an incredible performance in the feature film Desperate Measures where he virtually held the screen single handed for the duration, playing a drug addled rich kid, kidnapped and abused to an inch of his life in an isolated, claustrophobic country farmhouse (see here).

"It's a shame because I've heard we got let down on the distribution side; the film was supposed to be on sale in ASDA and all these places but it never was and people couldn't buy the bloody thing" he explains "But what the film did do was hook me up with Chris Green, a fellow Salfordian, so we've got a lovely relationship.

"I've just set up a film company with a local entrepreneur from Salford and we're going to do Chris's next film" he adds "It's a thriller – a revenge/rescue story about a guy who's abused as a kid and he gets put away. He comes out and taps into the paedophile ring in order to rescue his sister. It's a brutal dark tale, Dead Man's Shoes meets London to Brighton, but again it will be a small budget with some good people wanting to be involved. We want to make it with pretty much all Salfordians, we're going to shoot it all local and if all goes well, we'll get to shoot in April when I finish this series."

With Stephen Lord, things just never stop. Acting…producing…and now he's just finished directing a pilot comedy show about a gangster who makes a tv reality programme, thinking he can follow in the footsteps of Simon Cowell and Ricky Gervais…

"It's got Chris Hargreaves in the lead role as the gangster who has no idea how to go about it, and just bumbles into this world of exploiting people to do various things in order to give him a reality series" Stephen explains "It's pretty cutting edge and dark but hysterical. So I'm playing around with that. I've always wanted to make a living as an actor and do credible stuff but if I can also mix that up with a bit of writing or directing it would be amazing." 

Meanwhile the Salford actor is mixing it up on the Chatsworth Estate…

"I stayed in a presbytery in London for three years saw the awful lot of good work the priests did with the community" Stephen explains "But as we know from seeing the news, there's also a lot of dysfunctional priests out there…"

And Chatsworth is about to meet the most shameless of them all…

Shameless, starring Stephen Lord, is on Channel 4 Tuesday 7th February 10pm

Janice Selkirk wrote
at 09:11:16 on 19 March 2012
would love to see Stephen play Bob Dylan!
 
don draper wrote
at 17:14:54 on 08 February 2012
Lets hope stephen manages to speak a little louder than he did in his Eastenders role where he whispered and mumbled his way throughout.
 
Keiser Fan wrote
at 20:02:45 on 07 February 2012
Really don't understand the success of Shameless . Says a lot about the state of Humankind if people regard this and trash like X Factor and Kyle as some kind of entertainment . Still , it suits the corrupt governments to keep people stupid by feeding them such bullshit . It's the Keiser Report for me .
 
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