Based on the story of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of London's first department store who revolutionized the way stores sell merchandise, in Mr. Selfridge, Harry arrives in London and, unimpressed with the way stores sold merchandise, starts up his own store in an unfashionable side of town.
Most of the faces in Mr. Selfridge are new faces, but there are also a couple of familiar faces. The series stars Jeremy Piven (who I think is well known in Hollywood?) as Harry Gordon Selfridge. Here are some familiar period drama faces in Mr. Selfridge.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Ron Cook||Mr. Crabb||Little Dorrit (2008) as Mr. Chivery|
|Frances O'Connor||Rose Selfridge||The Importance of Being Earnest as Gwendolen Fairfax|
|Freya Wilson||Violette Selfridge||The King's Speech as Princess Elizabeth|
And as a couple of interesting trivia bits: Zoë Tapper, who plays Ellen Love, is also the wife of period drama actor Oliver Dimesdale; and Kika Markham, who plays Lois Selfridge, was the wife of Corin Redgrave (who played Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion (1995)) before his death.
|Mr Selfridge (center) with Mr. Grove, the head of staff, on his|
left and Mr. Crabb, his accountant, on his right.
Rose is a fairly sympathetic character, though not necessarily entirely innocent. She does care for and love Harry very much, but because he is unfaithful to her (which has also happened in the past), she does seek out the attention of artist Roderick "Roddy" Temple. While nothing comes of it, it does strain Harry's and Rose's relationship with each other and the acquaintance does prove to be a burden when Roddy seeks the attention of Rose and Harry's eldest daughter, Rosalie, in order to see Rose (and even blackmail her). Of the two, I would say that Rose is probably more sympathetic than Harry since Harry's actions tend to be more damaging than her's.
|From left to right: Agnes Towler, Kitty Hawkins, and |
|A shot of the interior of Selfridge's along with members of the|
cast. From left to right: Henri LeClair, Agnes Towler, Lady Mae,
Harry Selfridge, Ellen Love, Rose Selfridge, and Frank Edwards
From what I understand, the interior for Selfridge's is a set, but it's a very well done set. I wouldn't have expected it to be a set because it looks so real... like it was the actual store. There are multiple parts of the store that are shown in this series: the main part where the shopping is done, the offices, the restaurant and the loading area to name the main ones. We also get to see a good deal of the home of the Selfridges (which is a very nice home) and the home of Agnes Towler and her brother George (which is poor, but livable).
The costuming is great (though someone said that it was better than Downton Abbey: I disagree). The salesgirls wear black dresses with a white accent while they are on the clock (almost like a uniform, but not a specific uniform). There is a bit of the dress reform movement mentioned when Miss Ravillus (Miss Bunting's replacement) is hired, so there is a bit of that in there as well. The best dressed one in the show is clearly Lady Mae (though Rose Selfridge has some nice dresses as well); the only problem I have with Lady Mae's outfit is her hat/hair: seriously, it looked like her hat was floating unnaturally on top of her hair and not something associated with the Edwardian Era.
It does take some time to get used to the characters and it may be tempting to stop watching in the first couple of episodes, but it does get better as the series goes on. I'm not sure how accurate the entire series is and none of the characters are good role models (and exhibit behaviors that would have been scandalous at the time), but it's still enjoyable and I'm not sorry that I watched the series. Do I think that it deserved a second series (which is in the making)? No, not really: it wasn't that good of a series. Will I watch the second series? Probably (since this series ended on a cliffhanger), but I'll probably be surprised if a third series is made (unless the show greatly improves in the second series).
Because of some scenes (which were unnecessary), I probably would say that the content of Mr. Selfridge is TV-14 (which you might be able to expect from Andrew Davies, who wrote the series). Hardly an episode goes by without at least one more mature scene in the episode. That and along with some innuendo, a few characters being unfaithful to their spouses, and some mild drug use earns a TV-14 rating from me. I would say that if you took out the unnecessary scenes that the show could be TV-PG.
Mr. Selfridge is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray. It is made up of ten episodes that are roughly 50 minutes long.