After a weekend of ill-health, I finally got around to catching up properly with ‘Mr Selfridge’ last night. I was totally dazzled and enchanted, as I had expected to be, with the fascinating story of Harry Gordon Selfridge, played in the series by Jeremy Piven, and the iconic department store he created, bought to life on the small screen. All those instantly recognisable features, the wonderful window displays, the luxurious fixtures and fittings, the Art Nouveau style lifts, it was all there, albeit in a 1909 version.
Mr Selfridge was a retail visionary. So much about the way we enjoy shopping is down to him, from the opportunity to be able to ‘handle the goods’, to browse and window shop, the fact that we have rails and rails of choice, all this can be linked back to the ‘Earl of Oxford Street’ and how he perceived the shopping experience. The fact that he was also a seductive romeo who lived and loved life to the full, also adds to his general, larger than life personality.
As you would expect, the show is visually stunning, with the female characters seeming to have walked straight off the Marc Jacobs catwalk locomotive, such is the stylised Edwardian look. Key characters include Katherine Kelly playing Lady May Loxley, and Zoe Tapper as the glamorous showgirl Ellen Love. I’m not sure if Ellen Love was real person, the real Selfridge certainly had a relationship with one of the notorious Dolly Sisters, so Ellen could be a fictional character.
I am already hooked on the glamour and drama of Mr Selfridge, and am also thrilled that the modern-day Selfridges are getting into the spirit of the series too, with a special Selfridges selection that includes, of course, the Lindy Woodhead book on which it is all based, and those very special red gloves that start it all.