This week was a bit different from the usual, it rained pretty much all day every day and the only two things that I felt like doing was reading books and watching TV. One of the TV shows that I spent much of this week watching is the PBS period drama, Mr. Selfridge. If you’re a fan of the genre, you should definitely give this one a try. Personally, I enjoy all sorts of period dramas. It’s interesting to see the contrast between society decades, or even a century ago to our society today.
Mr. Selfridge is a show set in the early 20th century about the events that happen in the life of Henry Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge & Co. on Oxford St. – London, his family and the workers of the historic department store. First of all, let me say that when I started watching this show, I had no idea that Selfridges was an actual store and Henry Selfridge was an actual person. My aunt and uncle, who lived in the U.K. in the 90’s, pointed it out and told me about the relevance of this store in England. It gave me a new perspective about the show once I knew that. That store and Highclere Castle (the location of Downtown Abbey) are my must-sees on my imaginary trip to the U.K.
The show starts with the American entrepreneur, Henry Selfridge (played by Jeremy Piven), moving to London, with the dream of opening a huge department store and what it took him to get the store up and running. With this, comes the hiring of staff and what happens in their own personal dramas. Some of my favorite characters among the staff are Mr. Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill) and Miss Mardle (Amanda Abbington), they are key employees in the store, but live an off-again-on-again affair; Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus) the shop assistant, who dreams of being more than what society determined for her and falls in love with Henri Leclair (Grégory Fitoussi), Henry Selfridge’s best friend and in charge of the stores’ window displays, which are famous to this day; Victor Colleano (Trystan Gravelle), a store employee with an ambitious heart, dreams of one day being his own boss and works hard to find his place in a society that is based more on who you know than who you are. World War I and many other historical events change the store’s staff a lot throughout its four seasons. Henry Selfridge’s family plays a huge part in this story. His wife and his children have to deal with the differences in the culture as well as finding their own space in Selfridges’ empire. All good shows need a bad guy, and this would be Lord Loxley (Aiden McArdle), Henry Selfridge’s arch enemy, who makes his own personal goal to destroy Mr. Selfridge and all that he represents.
This show is full of drama and unexpected events that leave you wanting more. As I mentioned before, I enjoy the combination of the drama and the history behind. With all the historical changes in this period, it fascinates me the shift in women’s role in society and how much has improved since then: the empowerment of having a job vs. staying at home, and which is the “respectable” one. In my view, I see a lot of women’s empowerment in this show, even though it’s not about feminism, nor the main character a woman.
I haven’t yet seen the fourth season of the show since only seasons 1-3 are available on Amazon Prime, so I bet that a lot has changed since the end of season three. Having said that, I can’t wait for season four to be available so I can catch up on what will happen next.
- Where to watch: Amazon Prime
- How long are the episodes: 45 minutes
- IMDB rating: 7.7/10
- My rating: 8.5/10