Jeremy Piven as brash American Harry Selfridge.
By Gabrielle Pantera
Hollywood, CA (Gosh!TV) 2013/3/31 – “Adding Jeremy Piven to our legendary list of Masterpiece actors is a real treat,” says Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “Mr. Selfridge has all the qualities viewers expect from our programs a riveting story, fabulous production values, a first-rate cast, and now…shopping!”
Mr. Selfridge premiered earlier this year in the UK. The miniseries is loosely based on the book Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead . Andrew Davies wrote the scripts. The lead Harry Selfridge is played by Jeremy Piven who is also a producer along with ITV. Piven does an admirable job in the costume drama, but for those who are used to the restrained elegance of Downton it may come across as brash.
The story is really about Selfridge and his life, but the creation of the first departments store is engaging as well, it would be have been great to see more about the process. The costumes are wonderful, but unlike Downton Abbey there is little emotional connection to characters.
Chicago native Harry Gordon Selfridge, started his retail life at Marshall Field’s, but wanted more. He wanted his own store. Traveling to London he managed to secure financing and with lots of American moxy he opens Selfridges in 1909. Selfridge has loads of charm. That helps him and hurts him.
Piven plays the role with the same charm and smarm as his role in Entourage of Ari Gold. Selfridge was a a pioneer in retailing and his insight could be used in today’s corporate and movie industry.
“I want merchandise people will desire, say’s Selfredge in the miniseries. “I want merchandise people don’t even know they will desire until they see it right in front of their eyes!” That line is very apropos for today’s world.
Mr. Selfridge is a hit in the UK and a second season has been ordered. They’ll start filming in April of this year. The show starts on PBS this Sunday March 31st, Easter Sunday, and runs through May 19th.
If you love miniseries about shopping, the BBC has another coming soon to America. Paradise is based on the novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola. However, the miniseries moved the story from France to Northeast England. No word yet when that will release in America.