Press references that place the word "scriptwriter" ahead of his name are often "pejorative", he claims. "There's one journalist who does it quite often and says 'the scriptwriter Paul Abbott'. I think, 'You can't still be saying that.' I've got five lifetime achievement awards and a better writing style than you."As ever, Abbott has numerous projects on the go. As well as the new series of Shameless, and various productions through his company, Tightrope Pictures, he is writing new work for stage and screen.
He will shortly ... make a musical feature film about the BNP in Burnley. He won't be asking the locals to contribute suggestions for the script. "I don't want putting off. I'm not going to canvass their opinions - I don't want them to shape my film. If you import too many of other people's philosophies you can't be a writer."
Abbott, whose production company Tightrope Pictures has offices in London and Manchester, is also working on a new project for Channel 4, Mrs In-Betweeny, a sort of transsexual Mrs Doubtfire. "It's about stripping away gender to teach kids that are divorced that there's no superior authority one way or the other," he explains.