TV review

    SHAMELESS

    STAR RATING 1/5

    C4, 11 January, 10pm

    In episode 2 of the new series, the prospect of the Gallagher
    family’s neighbours Kev and Veronica being visited by a social
    worker to assess them as foster carers seemed a must-see moment,
    writes Kathryn Stone.

    If ever TV is going to deliver a positive public image for social
    work I’m convinced it will be through comedy. So, could the cult
    drama-comedy of the moment be the kick-start of the fight-back?

    Er, no. Scatty Marissa (Karen Henthorn) as much represented
    contemporary social work as DI Barnaby does policing in Midsomer
    Murders. Note to Wardrobe: the big glasses/satchel thing hasn’t
    been done since the mid-1980s.

    Kev and “V” seem to be good sorts who want to be good parents to
    foster child Eric “and just try not to kill him” (that was the
    comedy bit – oh and the bit where Eric is kidnapped from school to
    save him from bullying girls). At least they did say things that
    foster carers say: “I just want to get it right” and “Perhaps we
    made a mistake”.

    But Marissa? Dizzy, middle-class and disorganised with too much
    (and all the wrong) paperwork she was depressingly stereotypical,
    inaccurate and pejorative. The comedy scene of police removing Eric
    from Kev and V’s care only to return him because Marissa had got
    the wrong address was really, really unfunny. Shameful, even.

    Kathryn Stone is a qualified social worker who had big
    glasses and a satchel until 1984

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