Character actress Valerie Lilley got her start in British theater; she didn't make her television debut, in an episode of the 1970s anthology drama series "Once Upon a Time", until she was in her mid-30s. Her first recurring TV role came with 2000's school-based drama "Hope and Glory". The short-lived crime drama "Serious and Organised", in which she played the mother of police officer brothers, followed in 2003. Lilley played Mrs. Bates in a well-received miniseries adaptation of the Jane Austen novel "Emma" in 2009. The following year, she scored her breakout role as cantankerous, wheelchair-bound grandmother Patty Croker in the controversial comedy-drama "Shameless".