ITV1 has commissioned Mr Selfridge, a new ten-part period drama written chiefly by Andrew Davies.
The new show sees Davies, the master of literary dramatisations, turn to a real-life story: that of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the reckless American entrepreneur who set out to revolutionise department-store shopping at his Oxford Street shop.
Set in London in 1909, the series will track how Selfridge capitalised on wealthy women’s spending power and burgeoning sense of freedom by staging opulent in-store events to celebrate the latest trends.
As well as charting developments in Edwardian fashion, cosmetics, technology and domestic affairs, Mr Selfridge will also aim to capture the glamour of 1900s London through “Mile a Minute Harry” and his love of gambling, womanising, film and theatre.
Davies – known for adapting Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House, Tipping the Velvet and other novels for television – is the lead writer on the series, with Kate Brooke (Case Sensitive) and Kate O’Riordan (The Kindness of Strangers) also writing episodes. Mr Selfridge is based on the biography Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead.
“The story of Harry Selfridge and how he transformed the world of retail is fantastically rich territory,” said ITV director of television Peter Fincham. “Andrew Davies and the team have created a compelling and entertaining series that is part family saga and part workplace drama.”
Ten hour-long episodes have been ordered, for broadcast in 2013. Casting for the lead role is currently under way in the US.