MR SELFRIDGE Brings Seduction and Shopping to your TV
As someone who once worked at Selfridges whilst at University, I was thrilled when ITV announced they were dramatising the beginning of the legendary department store and the man who founded it in a 10 part epic.
The store’s incredibly proud of it’s history and it quite rightly should be. The department store revolutionised the shopping experience and turned it into a past-time to be enjoyed rather than a chore.
The drama is set in London in 1909, at a time when women were revelling in a new sense of freedom and modernity. Harry wanted to indulge, empower and celebrate these women and so opened the doors of his lavish department store, on London’s famous Oxford Street.
The series Mr Selfridge focuses on the heart of the beginning of the store, the eponymous Mr Selfridge. The entrepreneur coined the phrase “the customer is always right” and invented things the industry uses to this day such as celebrity endorsement, wedding gift lists and a new style of shopping where the counter didn’t present a barrier between the merchandise and the customer.
Mr Selfridge tells the story of ‘Mile a Minute Harry’, a man with a mission to make shopping as thrilling as sex. Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, he created a theatre of retail where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining – or sometimes just eccentric – was showcased.
However, Harry Selfridge had a darker side. Selfridge was a womaniser, a gambler and ended up penniless despite his store going on to be a success without him.
Based on the book ‘Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge’, the television series focuses on the characters working within the store, the protagonist Mr Selfridge is played by Entourage actor Jeremy Piven. Piven plays the role with energy, charm and cheekiness As the series progresses I’m sure that the title character will descend into a more tragic state.
Through the innovations and spectacular events Harry staged within the store, the stories shines a light on hidden moments of the history of women, be it fashion, cosmetics, technology or domestic affairs.
Harry’s colourful life plays out against the rich tapestry of London at the turn of the century. In his leisure hours he was a gambler, and although happily married, he enjoyed the company of glamorous show girls and film stars. His womanising was legendary and he very much lived life in the fast lane.
Episode 1 focuses mostly on the very beginnings of the store, the troubles with finance and hostility the enthusiastic American faced from the British press and the introduction of some of the key characters.
Episode 2 delves more deeply into the other characters lives, their motivations and hints at where the series will go.
Wherever the plot goes, any one with the internet can look up the basics of the life of Mr Selfridge, the series goes one further and highlights some of the changes that were happening in society at the time. ITV have already pre-sold the show to various markets around the world so there is no doubt this show is poised to be the next big thing in period drama.
Mr Selfridge stars Jeremy Piven and he’s joined by Frances O’Connor, Katherine Kelly, Zoe Tapper, Gregory Fitoussi and Trystan Gravelle.
Mr Selfridge starts on ITV1 on Sunday 6th January at 9pm
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