Last week saw the first episode of ITV1’s much-hyped new period drama, Mr Selfridge. Viewers who spied a number of similarities between BBC’s The Paradise weren’t wide of the mark as Jeremy Piven’s Harry Selfridge matched the facial hair requirements of John Moray, while Aisling Loftus took on the shop girl role of Agnes Towler, the ITV counterpart of Paradise’s plucky Denise Lovett.
The first outing saw Mr Selfridge brave financial difficulties, dodgy fire alarms and haughty London socialities all in the name of opening his famous Oxford Street department store. We met glamorous Ellen Love (the gregarious face of Selfridge’s), the store’s dashing creative director Henri Leclair, and bitchy shop girls Kitty and Doris who spend their days in the accessories department aiming sniping comments at poor Agnes.
Viewers were also introduced to Harry’s wife Rose who kept on giving us the sad face as her husband spent increasing amounts of time in “the office” – which frequently translates as whiling away the hours fawning over Miss Love’s stage performances.
After numerous hitches and glitches, the store received its grand opening at the end of the episode – but be warned, stuffy accountant Mr Crabb is already worried about the disappointing profits…
Now, as the week draws to a close, we can turn our thoughts to episode two this Sunday and what treats it has in store…
Let’s pick up where we left off – here’s Mr Selfridge, rolling out his trademark big hand gestures and gleaming teeth in his magnificent store. And what’s that you spy in the background? It’s an airplane, of course – with Ellen Love perched delicately atop for the cameras. It looks to us like resourceful Mr Selfridge has found a means of attracting customers to his store, amid rumours of underwhelming sales figures – the man is a walking publicity stunt….
And here’s the plane’s pilot, Bleriot, in all his follical supremacy. That starry gaze of his will soon have the ladies of the store fawning over him instead of dashing Harry.
But Harry has enough women on his plate as it stands. Last week we saw him strike up a flirtatious relationship with Ellen – albeit looking more than shifty as she positioned herself on the edge of his desk. But this week a sly smirk can be seen gracing his lips as Ellen giggles girlishly into his cheek. Will Sunday’s episode see the pair graduate from stolen glances and smartly placed mirrors to passionate embraces and illicit liasons?
Harry’s wife, Rose, is certainly looking rather peeved in this next shot – is her husband using those well-practised hand gestures of his to apologise for yet another missed supper? Or maybe Mrs Selfridge has caught wind of Ellen Love’s flirtatious advances?
But by the looks of things, Rose has taken matters into her own hands and set off on some amorous adventures of her own. This scruffy young man goes by the name of Roddy and is an artist – but what is he doing in the company of a wealthy American socialite? By the anxious look in Rose’s eyes, we reckon she’s not too sure what she’s doing surveying what appear to be his shabby digs. But with Harry at the store all hours and no one but her mother in law and excitable children to keep her company, who can blame Mrs Selfridge for finally finding her sense of adventure.
Someone who might be accused of having too strong a sense of adventure is young waiter Victor who spent much of the first episode flirting with shop girl Agnes after hours in Selfridge’s swanky Palm Court restaurant. But this week he appears to have moved on to pastures new… Here he is turning his charms on a wealthy older lady who doesn’t appear to reciprocate his advances. Oh dear, we have a feeling it won’t be long before Victor’s flirtations land him in hot water.
And speaking of charming, how could we fail to mention lovely Henri Leclair? Here he is looking delightfully mischevious all decked out in his bowtie as he glides through the corridors of Selfridge’s. But who’s that surreptitiously leaning on the counter in the background? Could that be young Agnes who caught the creative director’s eye in last week’s episode? Is another encounter with the senior accessories assistant the reason behind the twinkle in his eye? Here’s hoping…
But poor old Agnes has bigger fish to fry. Remember her wreck of a brother who kept making exasperated appearances in last week’s episode? It looks like he’s bagged himself a job in store if his heavy lifting in the following picture is anything to go by. At least that means Agnes will no longer be bearing the financial brunt of her disfunctional family. That is if George manages to hang onto his current employment.
But George isn’t the only family member of Agnes’ to appear in Sunday’s episode. After multiple mentions of their menacing father, Reg Towler is about to crop up on our screens – and he’s all teeth and facial hair too, but not in a good way. What will poor, beleaguered Agnes do if her father makes an appearance at Selfridge’s? She looked embarrassed enough when her brother showed his face last week. And by the looks of things, Reg is a rather unsavoury character likely to knock a number of Selfridge’s noses out of joint. Ooh-er.
Perhaps Frank Edwards – aka ‘Saviour of Selfridge’s’ – will step in once more to prevent disaster? Look, he’s already adopted something of a Superman stance as he surveys the scene before him. Fear not, the best connnected journalist in London may well demonstrate his heroics once again.