Published: Mon 14 Jan 2013
Award-winning actor Jeremy Piven (Entourage) leads the cast as Harry Gordon Selfridge in new drama series Mr Selfridge, about the life of the flamboyant and visionary American entrepreneur.
Created by multi-award winning writer Andrew Davies, Mr Selfridge tells the story of ‘Mile a Minute Harry’, a man with a mission to make shopping as thrilling as sex. Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, he created a theatre of retail where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining – or sometimes just eccentric – was showcased.
HARRY (Jeremy Piven) and ELLEN (Zoe Tapper) are now in the midst of their new love affair. At her sumptuous new apartment, provided by HARRY, they dance into the night. ELLEN shows a glimpse of the vulnerable girl behind the mask; she talks about her father and reveals her real name, Joyce. HARRY watches on as ELLEN applies her makeup – he’s fascinated, and gets thinking about the possible next zeitgeist in retail: cosmetics.
AGNES’S drunk and nasty father, REG (Nick Moran) has been sacked from his job. He loses his temper with AGNES (Aisling Loftus), hitting her hard across the face. Meanwhile, a naturally beautiful ROSE (Frances O’Connor) sits at her dressing table in the morning light, with cheerful thoughts of her new friend RODDY (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) to keep her company…
HARRY announces his new idea to his senior staff: to move perfume out of the pharmacy and sell it on the ground floor by the front entrance. He wants to experiment by putting Beauty products such as lipstick and rouge above the counter - much to the disdain of his staff! Beauty products are still considered incredibly risqué! HARRY seeks advice from a friend of HENRI’S who works for advertising agency J Walter Thompson: the chic, fashionable and very French VALERIE MAUREL (Josephine de la Baume). Little does everyone know that VALERIE is an old flame of HENRI’S.
There’s chatter amongst the staff about ELLEN and HARRY, and this reaches fever pitch when LOIS comes to the store only to see HARRY and ELLEN publicly dancing on the shop floor. LOIS clocks exactly what’s going on; she senses danger when it comes to ELLEN.
At home, ROSALIE (Poppy Lee Friar) is bored in London. She wants to ‘come out’ into London Society – but ROSE isn’t sure. The English have pretty strict rules about that sort of thing; it might not be possible to formally launch into Society with an American father, especially one who’s in commerce. ROSE decides to seek the help of LADY MAE (Katherine Kelly), who agrees to help young ROSALIE. LADY MAE also warns ROSE not to underestimate chorus girl ELLEN, revealing she was once a chorus girl too. She reveals HARRY has provided ELLEN with a new apartment, leaving ROSE crushed.
HENRI (Grégory Fitoussi) is down about VALERIE returning to the States, so HARRY takes him out on the town to cheer him up. They go to see ELLEN’S show and then onto a soiree with FRANK EDWARDS (Samuel West) where HARRY indulges in his biggest vice - gambling – triumphantly beating LADY MAE’S young lover TONY (Will Payne) at a card game.
VICTOR is still trying to woo AGNES, whilst she is cleverly concealing her bruise with makeup. Upon her return to work, HENRI whisks AGNES off to help design the new Selfridge’s House perfume. As AGNES gives HENRI the idea of The Lily of the Valley, we get the sense of a blossoming bond between them.
HARRY wants ELLEN to endorse the new perfume. As HENRI works on a new set of photos with ELLEN, and cunningly takes her down a peg by encouraging her to be ultra-risqué in the pictures, knowing HARRY would never approve them for use. ELLEN is left humiliated; for HARRY, the slightly seedy reality of his affair with ELLEN hits home for the first time.
The new location of the Beauty and perfume at the front of the store is a massive success. But still unsure about makeup, HARRY agrees to move it up front – but with less fanfare. Selfridges is a family store after all.
Angry about TONY losing her money to HARRY at the card game, LADY MAE levers a favour out of HARRY: she wants him to actively support Women’s Suffrage by selling memorabilia and offering a weekly meeting table in the heart of the Palm Court.
At the theatre, ELLEN notices that HARRY’S usual seat in the auditorium is empty. He’s home early to see ROSE and the children, only to find that ROSE is out. Little does he know she’s with RODDY at his studio, and is the subject of his next painting…