What character do you play?
I play a 15-year-old known as Danny, who is deaf and doesn't speak. He has spent part of his life hiding in Ibiza with his Aunt Peggy. He is smuggled into the UK by an unwitting Ian. They form a close friendship.
How did you get involved in the programme?
My parents are both actors and somebody they knew mentioned this role, so I went for the audition for the hell of it.
What obstacles have you faced as a deaf actor on the cast of Shameless?
My parents brought me up to speak as well as sign, so communication isn't a difficulty but I am constantly surprised how much people don't know about deafness.
What challenges do deaf actors face?
There is a lack of awareness about deafness among people who work in TV. I would love to see a deaf actor playing a character, rather than a 'deaf' character.
Do you think there are enough deaf actors on television?
No, of course not!
Why do you think there arent many disabled actors on our screens?
They may find it difficult to do some things and it's possible that the general public want to watch something more glamorous.
In what ways are you similar to your Shameless character?
We may share a similar deafness but otherwise I don't think I'm like him in any way. He's sharp and I'm very laid back.
If your role in Shameless could change one misconception about deaf actors, what would it be?
Deaf people have always been misrepresented as people who can't understand normal conversations. I would like my character to change this misconception.
How has acting helped you in other aspects of your life?
It has helped my self-confidence and helped me speak in public.
Who are your acting role models?
Alec Guinness - especially his performance in The Bridge on the River Kwai.
What do you get up to when you arent on set?
Practising my lines - obviously. Sometimes I use the time to catch up with my art and other A-levels.
• Louis's debut in Shameless can be seen on Channel 4 at 10pm on 10 March.
The Guardian, 4th March 2009