As we have thought for some time, ITV1 has taken their drama output to another level over the last couple of years. While starting with the obvious and Downton Abbey, lets not forget Scott & Bailey with Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones and Amelia Bullmore, Endeavour starring Shaun Evans, DCI Banks with Stephen Tompkinson and Whitechapel with Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton. FYI, according to a recent tweet by Phil Davis, a new series of Whitechapel begins filming in January 2013.
Next up ITV’s increasingly long line of quality drama comes Mr. Selfridge with Jeremy Piven starring as American entrepreneur, Harry Gordon Selfridge, the self-described Earl of Oxford Street. Nicknamed “Mile a Minute Harry”, Harry Selfridge was a man who had one mission in life..to make shopping as thrilling as sex. According to the ITV press release, Selfridge was 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.
The 10-part series, based upon the book Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge by author Lindy Woodhead, is set in London in 1909 and focuses on a time when wealthy 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 brilliant cast, headed by Jeremy Piven, in front of the camera has plenty of company behind the scenes as the series will be produced by Chrissy Skinns (Marchlands, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) and executive produced by ITV Studios Drama’s Kate Lewis. Jon Jones (Titanic, Northanger Abbey) will direct. Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice) is the lead writer alongside Kate Brooke (Case Sensitive, Murder in the Outback) and Kate O’Riordan (The Bad Mother’s Handbook, The Kindness of Strangers) who will also be writing some of the scripts.
Set your alarm for the opening of Selfridge’s in early 2013 on ITV1 and Spring 2013 on PBS in the States.