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David Threlfall

David Threlfall
Born (1953-10-12) 12 October 1953 (age 62)
Burnage, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Brana Bajic (m. 1995)

David Threlfall (born 12 October 1953) is an English stage, film and television actor and director best known for playing Frank Gallagher in Channel 4's series Shameless. He has also directed several episodes of the show. In April 2014, he portrayed comedian Tommy Cooper in a television film entitled Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This. In 2014, he starred alongside Jude Law in the thriller Black Sea.

Early life

The son of a plumber, Tommy Threlfall and his wife, David was born in Burnage, Manchester, Lancashire.[1] His introduction to drama came from school and two English teachers, at Wilbraham High School, where he was a contemporary of the younger Lorraine Ashbourne. Encouragement from those teachers led to his playing the male lead in a four-performance school production of Ann Jellicoe's Rising Generation in 1971. December that year saw him playing John Proctor in a school production of The Crucible and then to his getting involved with Manchester Youth Theatre.

He went to art college in Sheffield (now Sheffield Hallam University), but only stayed for a year. A few months of labouring and thinking followed. Then, having consulted a magazine in a public library which listed drama colleges, Threlfall successfully applied to Manchester Polytechnic School of Drama. By graduation, he had an audition with Mike Leigh.[citation needed]

Threlfall has been a keen supporter of Manchester City since childhood.[2]


Threlfall graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre. He has notched up a wide range of film and television credits since his 1977 acting debut in the Play for Today version of the film Scum as the eloquent Archer.[3] Television appearances include Trevor in Mike Leigh's 1977 made-for-TV film Kiss of Death, Leslie Titmuss in Paradise Postponed, Edgar in the 1984 Granada Television production of King Lear opposite Laurence Olivier in the title role. He also had regular roles in the situation comedies Nightingales and Men of the World, and guest appearances in dramas such as Cutting It, The Knock, CI5: The New Professionals and Spooks. He played Prince Charles in Diana: Her True Story in 1993 and his father Prince Philip in the 2005 drama The Queen's Sister. David played the key character of Frank Gallagher in Paul Abbott's Shameless, shown on Channel 4 for 11 series between 2004 and 2013.

He also played the role of Friedrich Kritzinger in the BBC/HBO drama Conspiracy, a dramatisation of the infamous Wannsee Conference. In 2006, he played the domineering husband of wartime diarist Nella Last, in the TV drama Housewife, 49. Film credits include John le Carré's The Russia House, Patriot Games, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, alongside Cate Blanchett, and Nowhere Boy in which he took the part of John Lennon's Uncle George.

He also had a small role in the 2006 film Alien Autopsy and played the character Martin Blower in the 2007 film Hot Fuzz, acting alongside Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. He starred in an episode of The Whistle Blowers. He starred as the lead role in the fifth episode of the BBC docu-drama series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire as the Emperor Constantine I.

Threlfall voiced the part of Iago in Othello for the Arcangel audio production of same. He also voiced the detective Paolo Baldi in BBC Radio 4's Baldi.[4] He also read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for a radio adaptation. In 1980, he played Smike in the eight-hour stage version of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby for the Royal Shakespeare Company in both London and New York.

Other notable stage performances include Riddley Walker, Oedipus, Macbeth, Your Home In The West and Peer Gynt at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Bolingbroke in Richard II and Orgon in Tartuffe at the National Theatre in London. Threlfall played Jack in When the Whales Came (1989), opposite Paul Scofield and Helen Mirren. In 2010, he appeared as a guest on Have I Got News for You.

In 2013, he played retired London detective Len Harper in the short murder mystery BBC series What Remains.

Awards and honours

Threlfall was awarded an honorary doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University on 15 July 2013.[citation needed]

Personal life

Threlfall has been married to Bosnian actress Brana Bajic since 1995.[5] They met in 1994, whilst working on The Count of Monte Cristo at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.[5]

David has said that despite his Shameless character being a chain smoker, in real life he is a non-smoker who has a dislike for nicotine.[6]



Year Title Role
2014 Black Sea Peters


Year Title Role
2004–2013 Shameless Frank Gallagher
2013 What Remains DI Len Harper
2014 Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This Tommy Cooper
2015 The Ark Noah
2015 Code of a Killer Detective David Baker
2015/2016 Midwinter of the Spirit[7] Rev Huw Owen


His roles include[8][9]


  1. ^ Jury, Louise (6 January 2007). "David Threlfall: Frank, in more than one sense". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Celebrity fans: David Threlfall,
  3. ^ Pryor, Cathy, David Threlfall: Being Frank and Shameless,, 7 January 2007
  4. ^ BALDI SERIES 4,
  5. ^ a b Elkin, Susan, Art of the shapeshifter — David Threlfall,, 6 May 2004
  6. ^ We're so shameless
  7. ^
  8. ^ Murray, Braham (2007). The Worst It Can Be Is a Disaster. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 978-0-7136-8490-2.
  9. ^ The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976-1998, 1998, ISBN 0-9512017-1-9

External links

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