Father Ted’s Pauline McLynn joins the cast of Shameless as Frank’s librarian lover

She made her name as repressed housekeeper Mrs Doyle in Father Ted, but now Pauline McLynn is showing her raunchier side as Frank Gallagher’s new love interest in Shameless. We popped down to The Jockey for a pint and a chat…

I play Libby, a narcoleptic librarian… She’s a plucky character who gives Frank a run for his money. David Threlfall’s Frank is an extraordinary, iconic creation, so it was a thrill for me to join the cast as his girlfriend.

Libby is a great one for a cause… The library is under threat and she organises protests. She wants to run a book club and, on the Chatsworth Estate, that is a bit of a challenge.

I can’t believe that, at my advanced age of 47, I’m being asked to get my kit off… It is required because this is Shameless and everybody is having sex. I’m not often asked to play somebody’s other half or even someone my own age, so it has been a strange experience.

Shameless is a huge celebration of being alive… I’ve always thought it was one of the best things on TV. It has honesty, heart and guts – it’s like an opera without the music. When I found out I was going to be in it, my leg nearly fell off with the excitement.

People still love Mrs Doyle… They always ask me if I want a cup of tea. Once I was on a train in Ireland, and the tea trolley man gave me a free cuppa because he recognised me from Father Ted.

I’d love to do another good sitcom… I have been spoiled because I was in one of the best, but I’d like to do another big, outrageous comedy – maybe something like Will & Grace.

I once worked for a chiropodist… That was a challenge, because I believe that feet should be covered up. I had to help elderly people on and off with their socks, and the feet don’t age well.

*Shameless returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday, January 26