With PBS set to re-open the doors of Mr. Selfridge in a matter of weeks (March 30 at 9pET/8pCT, to be exact), a lot was made leading up to the 2013 premiere with regards to the set that was constructed for the filming of the interior of Selfridges. For obvious reasons, the real Selfridges couldn’t be used from a production standpoint so a full replica of the Oxford Street store interior was built just north of London. One can only imagine the sheer magnitude of the replica set.
The real Selfridges opened in 1909. The steel-framed structure, designed by the architect Daniel Burnham (who also designed the Flatiron Building in New York) was five stories high with three basement levels, a roof terrace (used for everything from fashion shows to an all-girl gun club) – and over 100 departments.
Grant Bridgeman, the sound recordist for Mr. Selfridge described the massiveness of the set by saying, “…the whole of the interior of the Selfridges shop was one massive space that had chameleon-like qualities to change to different floors, or different departments – also the interior of the Selfridges House was a great multilevel build.”
The set immediately caught the eye (and attention) of Jeremy Piven who plays Harry Gordon Selfridge. “The attention to detail is beautiful. And yet they also built it for a range of movement with the camera. So it’s genius the way they do it. You can stick a crane in there and get a real sense of the multiple floors. It’s just a real playground.”
Mr. Selfridge returns to PBS’ Masterpiece line-up beginning Sunday, March 30. New to the Mr Selfridge team for the second series is production designer, Sonja Klaus. Executive Producer, Kate Lewis, said, ”Sonja was Ridley Scott’s set dresser for many years and her attention to detail and design is phenomenal. In collaboration with our lead director, Anthony Byrne, Sonja has made the store an even more lush and exciting place to be, as it would have been in 1914 because Harry Selfridge himself was developing his business.”
She added, “We also have new exterior locations and will see the back of the building for the first time, giving a broader sense of its scale. It’s as if the shop floor is the stage and then you see behind the scenes and how the show comes together.”