|DVD Box Art|
Denise Lovett arrives at her uncle's drapery shop looking for work. When her uncle, Edmund Lovett, cannot give her work, Denise seeks out a position at The Paradise, the growing department store across the street, much to the chagrin of her uncle who thinks that The Paradise is driving small businesses into bankruptcy. Denise earns a position in the ladies' wear department and immediately excels at her job and shines in the eye of her employer, Mr. Moray, a man with a troubled past.
I'm suspicious: it's as if they took the cast of Lark Rise to Candleford and put them in a new period drama... Okay, not the entire cast. But most of the cast members that I recognized in The Paradise were from Lark Rise to Candleford. There were actors in there from other period dramas, but the majority of other period drama actors were from Lark Rise to Candleford.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Matthew McNulty||Dudley||Lark Rise to Candleford as Fisher Bloom|
|Peter Wight||Edmund Lovett||Lark Rise to Candleford as Old Amos, Persuasion (2007) as Admiral Croft|
|Sarah Lancashire||Miss Audrey||Lark Rise to Candleford as Adult Laura Timmins (narration)|
|Ruby Bentall||Pauline||Lark Rise to Candleford as Minnie Mude|
|Arthur Darville||Bradley Burroughs||Little Dorrit (2008) as Tip Dorrit|
|David Bamber||Charles Chisholm||Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mr. Collins|
|Olivia Hallinan||Jocelin Brookmire||Lark Rise to Candleford as Laura Timmins|
See what I mean? Besides having a chunk of the cast from Lark Rise to Candleford in The Paradise, it also has a similar feel as Lark Rise to Candleford. Sure, The Paradise can be more serious at times, but many of the characters in The Paradise have a similar counterpart in Lark Rise to Candleford.
|Denise (center) wearing a dress her uncle, Edmund Lovett (left)|
made for her.
|Pauline, Sam, and Arthur|
|Dudley (left) congratulating Katherine Glendenning|
|Inside The Paradise|
One of the things that BBC does well is that they have great scenery in their period dramas. The Paradise is no exception. Though The Paradise is located in the city, there are some scenes that take place in the country since the Glendennings live on a country estate (after all, it wouldn't be a period drama without at least one country estate). Most of the scenes take place in or around The Paradise store. The inside of the store is very colorful and bright where the customers are. There are also some scenes that take place where the staff eats and sleeps in The Paradise's building: those areas aren't as nicely decorated as the store itself, however, but are kept up well and shows that Mr. Moray does care about his employees.
I've gone back and forth on what era the story is supposed to take place in based on costuming. Since bustles are used by the customers of The Paradise, the story would have taken place either between 1869 and 1876 or between 1883 and 1890. Now, since the fashionable ladies' skirts are trained and the day dresses don't have the high, stiff neckline that was popular in the 1880s, I'm more inclined to believe the story takes place between 1869 to 1876. The only thing that confuses me on that is that the shopgirls' uniforms and Miss Audrey's dress has a very high neckline, but since the fashionable ladies' dresses are more accurate to the popular fashions of the period, I'm going to go with their dresses than the shopgirls dresses in picking the time period. But anyways, the costumes in The Paradise are very nicely done! There is a range of costume richness: there are wealthy ladies costumes as well as working ladies costumes, all of which are nicely done.
Out of all of the characters in the show, Katherine Glendenning is the best dressed in the show. Since she (or rather her father) is wealthy, she can afford to dress in the latest fashions. Her clothes are reportedly not from The Paradise, but rather are from her personal seamstress (she mostly just goes to The Paradise to see Moray).
|Denise and Clara in their shopgirl uniforms|
|Burroughs, what are you wearing?|
This is a great start to a wonderful series! And it's safe to say that I preferred The Paradise over Mr. Selfridge. While Mr. Selfridge had more unexpected twists and turns, it was harder to like the characters (well, for me at least). In The Paradise, it was easy to find a set of characters that I liked while still having an interesting story line. The costumes are lively and fun to look at, and the scenery is something not to be overlooked. This series has kind of a cliffhanger ending, but it still feels complete (Spoiler the series sends with Moray and Denise in an embrace while Katherine puts on her wedding veil and is about to leave her home to marry Moray, presumably to be jilted at the altar End of Spoiler). If you are a fan of Lark Rise to Candleford, I would definitely recommend that you check out The Paradise; in fact, Bill Gallagher, the creator of this show, also worked on Lark Rise to Candleford as a writer and producer, which could explain the similar feel. Even if you haven't seen Lark Rise to Candleford, I would still say check out this show. It's definitely a good period drama.
Most questionable content in this show is pretty minimal and is mostly implied. There are some implications between two unmarried people, the girl telling one of the girls bluntly while the man used more veiled language when mentioning it to another man. There are some excessive kissing scenes that are a little uncomfortable, but aren't horribly inappropriate. A man drowns and another man has flashbacks about it. Some of the ladies bodices are low cut. That's about it for content. I would say the show is TV-PG as a personal opinion.
The Paradise is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. The eight episodes in this series are 60 minutes long each.