Unfortunately, the newest addition to the PBS Masterpiece line-up will be forever linked and/or compared to ITV’s brilliant period drama, Mr. Selfridge. Both are set in a department store, and that’s where the comparisons end. While Mr. Selfridge tells the true life adventures of Harry Gordon Selfridge and his London department store, Selfridge & Co, The Paradise fictitiously profiles Britain’s glamorous first department store in the 1870’s, which dominates the high street in the North of England.
As the series begins, Denise Lovett (Joanna Vanderham) arrives wide-eyed and penniless on the front steps of The Paradise. She may be penniless but, it’s clear from the outset that while her inspired eye focuses on the store’s ladieswear department, it’s the shop’s dashing, yet reckless, owner, John Moray (Emun Elliott), who has his own ‘inspired eye’ turned on her. Much to the annoyance of head of ladies fashion Miss Audrey, shopgirl Clara and Lord Glendenning’s daughter Katherine, who is determined to marry Moray, Lovett’s stock begins to rise.
Based on the novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola, series 2 of The Paradise is set to premiere on BBC One this Autumn and series 1 of writer/creator Bill Gallagher’s The Paradise premieres tomorrow (Oct 6) at 8pm CT/9pm ET on PBS’ MASTERPIECE series. And, it is just that, a masterpiece.