Series one of The Paradise came to a dramatic conclusion tonight – but avid fans can breathe a deep sigh of relief with the news that the show is due to return with a new series next year.
But let’s take a moment to reflect back on the past eight episodes of romance and shopping that provided viewers with such a welcome dose of weekly escapism. It seems eons ago that scruffy Denise Lovett first showed up on her uncle Edmund’s doorstep, fresh from the countryside and eager for work, but what a transformation we’ve seen since she showcased her savvy business brain at neighbouring retailer, The Paradise.
And what about The Paradise’s dashing owner, John Moray – the mysterious widower who’s risen from his lowly birth to run Britain’s first department store. We’ve seen him gently goaded into a proposal to spoilt landowner’s daughter, Katherine Glendenning over the past few weeks – only to see him boldly refute his betrothal by declaring his love for Denise in the series finale.
But Katherine isn’t one to give up lightly – as seen by her wily ways in her desperate attempts to retain her fiancé. Her father, Lord Glendenning, became awfully powerful during tonight’s episode and we’ve seen before that his wealth and status wield enormous influence over the local community.
And what of sinister Mr Jonas – long-time employee at The Paradise who took it upon himself to murder Mr Moray’s adversary, barber Bradley Burroughs? Tonight saw him relinquish his position at the store to preserve his former employer’s name, but is this the last we see of the one-armed shop manager?
While conclusive on a number of lingering questions, tonight’s episode flung open a series of new avenues to be explored when the series returns – so we’ve jumped the gun and made a few speculative predictions…
The Paradise lovebirds – John Moray and Denise Lovett – spent the series finale engaged in a backwards and forwards, will-they-won’t-they war of resolve but, when it looked like all was lost, loyal viewers got their just rewards as the final shot saw Mr Moray ditch his wedding and run into Denise’s welcome arms. How sweet…
But surely spurned lover Katherine will be anxious to wreak her revenge on the pair. Now her family lay claim to the entire street, surely it’s only a matter of time before she and her papa revoke The Paradise’s lease and toss Moray and his new squeeze out onto the streets? Without his retail empire, will Moray be forced to flee to pastures new? Well, that wouldn’t make for a promising series two, would it?
Alternatively, the Glendennings may let bygones be bygones and allow the soon-to-be Morays to run the ship – surely as First Lady of the store, Denise will ascend the ladder of retail hierarchy from lowly shopgirl to head of ladieswear? But then what will become of her relationships with Pauline, Clara and, most imporantly, Miss Audrey? Surely her superior will have something to say about being usurped by a plucky young upstart…
But Miss Audrey may face distractions from other quarters – Moray and Denise’s position as The Paradise’s star-crossed lovers came under threat at the end of the series when Edmund Lovett’s long-held love for the haughty head of ladieswear was finally reciproacted. Oh, the stolen glances and pensive moods of his beloved had long belied her feelings towards him, but Audrey’s visit to Edmund’s shop to alleviate her fear of attending Moray’s wedding ended in a long-awaited kiss between the pair.
But will their long-postponed romance finally spread its wings? Or will Miss Audrey deem her kiss a moment of weakness and return to her previously frosty demeanour? Maybe Moray’s promotion of Denise will be at the expense of Miss Audrey who will flee to Edmund’s shop and fill it once again with an abundance of neckties.
And speaking of Miss Audrey, what of her minions – Clara ended the first series miserable at Moray’s marriage to Katherine. But how will she feel when she discovers the object of her affections has spurned her advances in favour of someone he truly loves? Clara was just about holding it together when she believed Moray was marrying for money and duty, but what actions will she resort to in order to destroy his fledgling romance with Denise – she’s already made her feelings about her co-worker more than clear…
Meanwhile the past few weeks have seen Pauline’s countless attempts at flirtation with shop boy Sam end in failure, despite her determination to compliment every aspect of his very being that pops into her head. But, as we’ve seen, Sam only has eyes for beautiful Denise – and chooses to play ignorant every time Pauline offers up her desperate admiration.
Poor, plain Pauline – look at that miserable face. But things finally begun to look up tonight thanks to her own clumsiness, no less. It might be far-fetched to call her new suitor dashing but the man who came to her rescue when she dropped a stack of stock all over the shop floor had a twinkle in his eye that we rather liked. And Pauline has already declared her love for the young fella to Denise, so fingers crossed a new romance is in the bank to flaunt in the face of disinterested Sam. Maybe we’ll see more babies born in The Paradise to join ranks with young Arthur?
Poor Arthur, spending much of tonight cast under the gloomy cloud of Jonas’ threats. The young lad’s brief glimpse of soon-to-be-murdered Burroughs stepping into Jonas’ carriage has caused him nothing but trouble ever since. But perhaps the departure of Moray’s one-armed employee will spell the end of Arthur’s unease – that is, as long as he chooses to stay away from The Paradise…
But what would the store be without its resident sinister watchman, emerging from the shadows to write down details in his little black book? It’s hard to believe that the man capable of murdering Bradley Burroughs will simply skulk off into the night. Perhaps his disappearance is part of some greater master plan to avenge Moray for relieving him of his services? After years of work, will Jonas really have the resolve to abandon the place he calls home and resort to the life on the streets he swore he’d never return to? We reckon there’s more to come from Mr Moray’s dutiful servant…
Well, those are our speculations – but what are yours? What future are you hoping Denise and Moray will share together? Do you reckon Edmund and Miss Audrey will end up happily ever after? And what will become of The Paradise once the Glendennings get their hands on it? Post your thoughts in the comments box below.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news