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Shameless star 'humbled' by MMU degree

15 July 2013

David Threlfall's advice to young graduates

CELEBRATED actor David Threlfall says it was a “humbling honour” to receive an honorary degree from his former University.

The 59-year-old Shameless star was awarded a Doctorate in Arts at today’s graduation ceremony for Manchester Metropolitan University at the city’s Bridgewater Hall.

Head of Acting at the School of Art David Shirley said the Manchester-born star was the consummate artist who had displayed a deep understanding of acting over many years on TV, stage and big screen, and cited his “extraordinary versatility” in playing everything from Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Prince Charles to Frank Gallagher.

Threlfall shrugged off his achievements, which include a Laurence Olivier award, saying he considered himself “still in training” and would continue in the trade until “someone pulls the plug”.

Illustrious company

David enrolled at Manchester School of Art in 1973 joining an illustrious roll of undergraduates of Acting including Bernard Hill, Julie Walters, Steve Coogan and Richard Griffiths.

As an undergraduate he made his TV debut and made a key contact with film director Mike Leigh with whom he was later to work.

Never shy of a challenge, David was well-known by his lecturers for salvaging items from the dump for stage props and his improvisation, such as the time he enhanced his appearance as an old man by sticking Rice Krispies to his face!

Addressing the graduate ‘Class of 2013’ on Monday, July 15, the former student described the profession of acting as: “I go to work, pretend to be someone else, have fun and go home.”

Advice to 'Class of 2103'

And he offered some useful advice to the next generation of actors emerging from MMU: “Acting is about life – it’s about getting to know how other people live, feel and think - and you can practise anytime.

“It’s about challenging yourself  - there will be dark times and plenty of rejection but how you get through that will shape you as a person and make you the artist you can be.”