It’s all change on Mr Selfridge as the retail period drama begins filming its second series with several high-profile new cast members. Jumping forward four years from March’s finale, the Jeremy Piven-led ITV production will catch up with Harry Gordon Selfridge and his iconic department store in 1914, braving the on-set of the First World War.
Following the departure of his wife Rose (Frances O’Connor) for America at the end of series one, Harry has become accustomed to the life of a single man in London as the couple become increasingly estranged. But when she returns to British shores to celebrate Selfridges’ fifth anniversary of trading, Harry is determined to win back her affection.
But he doesn’t account for Rose’s new friendship with bohemian novelist and businesswoman Delphine Day (Polly Walker), whom she meets on the boat back from New York. It looks like we’re going to see more of the strong-willed, independent Mrs Selfridge we glimpsed at the end of series one as her new friend brings with her a breath of empowering fresh air, leaving poor old Harry feeling sidelined.
Mr Selfridge will have other worries in his infamous Oxford Street emporium. In addition to playing his part in the nation’s war efforts, Harry must also contend with an increasingly troubled relationship with his business partner, Lady Mae Loxley (Katherine Kelly). The unexpected return of the mysterious Lord Loxley (Aidan McArdle) from “the countryside” throws the pair’s relationship off-kilter, as her alpha male husband acts to drive a wedge between Harry and his influential connection.
Another addition to the cast is newly appointed head of fashion Mr Thackeray (Downton Abbey’s Cal Macaninch) – no word yet on what’s become of Miss Ravilious – who takes pains to remind his colleagues of his illustrious Parisian training. But hot on his heels is young Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus), who has spent the intervening years also working in Paris, returning to Selfridge’s in episode one as Harry’s new head of display.
Her predecessor – and dashing love interest – Henri Leclair (Gregory Fitoussi) also makes a reappearance, but be warned, he is a “changed man” following his time in America… In contrast, Agnes’s other former flame, Victor Colleano (Trystan Gravelle) has had a remarkable change of fortune that has seen him promoted to manager of Selfridge’s Palm Court restaurant – and he’s moved on from poor Agnes. It’s down to Victor’s flirty young cousin and newly appointed waiter Franco (Skins’ Sean Teale) to stir things up again.
Other key characters set to return for series two are head of accessories Miss Mardle and chief of staff Roger Grove – played by Sherlock’s Amanda Abbington and Tom Goodman-Hill (Spy) – whose illicit affair came to an abrupt end last series when Roger chose to marry young shopgirl Doris. Her colleague and best friend Kitty Hawkes (Amy Beth Hayes) is back, as is her admirer and Agnes’ brother, George Towler (Calum Callaghan). Ron Cook and Samuel West also return to the cast as faithful accountant Mr Crabb and Harry’s former friend and journalist Frank Edwards.
Series two of Mr Selfridge began filming earlier this week, with its broadcast in early 2014 set to coincide with the centenary of the First World War.