Anne-Marie Duff on James McAvoy, whether she’d brave the jungle and Elvis

She’s back for Fiona’s Shameless finale – well, she did promise...

Why return to Shameless after all these years?


I made a drunken promise as I was leaving that I’d come back to play Fiona Gallagher for the very last episode – never thinking it would happen! It was extraordinary: same grim and grubby kitchen, same props… It was lovely.

Did falling for James McAvoy off-screen as well as on make the “shameless” scenes awkward?

I’m not going to go into that! But yes, I’ve got a lot to be grateful for. It’s extraordinary what happened to us all – we all thought this was probably a Titanic of a programme at the beginning. It’s been such an incredible opportunity for all of us.

Why do you think Fiona is such a good character?

I think Paul Abbott writes so beautifully – especially for women. They’re never just archetypes. Fiona was sexy, funny and naughty and at the same time had this huge moral code.

What can’t you miss on TV?

A really good British drama. America is the most innovative at the moment but I think British drama is always higher quality. Recently I’ve been totally glued to The Village.

And when you’re after something a little more… Trashy?

The Voice! There doesn’t seem to be the humiliation aspect of a lot of other talent contests.

So you could never be tempted by I’m a Celebrity…?

No way, José! There’s not enough money in the world. I think those shows are a little bit unhealthy.

Childhood favourite?

Come Back Lucy, which was about a little girl who lived in a haunted house. I would sometimes pretend to be her when I was playing. I also have fond memories of watching James Bond movies on bank holidays because we’d have crisps and chocolate as a special treat.

What film have you curled up to time and again?

Brief Encounter. I find it an extraordinarily grown-up, tender love story that still stands the test of time.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Elvis Presley. I’m the biggest Elvis fan in the Western world. Ever since I saw King Creole on TV in my teens and he was pretty tasty…

Who’s left you starstruck?

I always get very starstruck when I meet musicians and authors. I suppose it’s because they’re not in my immediate world. Last year I got terribly excited meeting the author Alan Hollinghurst.

Have you ever Googled yourself?

It’s to be avoided at all costs. It’s like reading other people’s diaries.

Do you tweet?

I’m a luddite when it comes to social networking. I’ll have to learn because I’m a parent now, so I’m going to have to be able to have dialogue with my offspring about it. But I feel like it belongs to the gossipy side of the world.

What’s next?

I’m rehearsing Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude at the National Theatre, about a woman who marries one man and has a child with another. The repercussions are complicated, as you can imagine.


1. Nigella or Nigel Slater? Nigel Slater

2. Michael McIntyre or John Bishop? Both

3. Radio 2 or Radio 4? Both. Chris Evans in the morning. Book at bedtime.

4. News at Ten or Have I Got News For You? Have I Got News For You?

5. Borgen or Lewis? Borgen hands down. 


Anne-Marie Duff stars in the last ever episode of Shameless, Tuesday C4