ITV1′s latest period drama certainly won’t be competing with Downton Abbey’s ratings. Although a good watch, Mr Selfridge is completely let down by Jeremy Piven’s inability to do period.
Based on the book ‘Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge’, by Lindy Woodhead, the series tells the story of how American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge wanted to create a shopping experience that was as thrilling as sex. Entourage’s Jeremy Piven plays the titular character. Unfortunately, the actor does not for one minute look comfortable in period drama. Some of it is his attempt to bring across Selfridge’s eccentric and flamboyant personality. But for the majority of the time, I was completely distracted by his on-screen ineptitude. However, the programme is saved by the fact that this story is surprisingly not just about a man with money and a concept.
As much as the series tells the story of how Selfridges cames to fruition, it also tells the story of a time when women were gaining more freedom. The turn of the 20th century saw women being allowed to indulge in their femininity and sexual identities. Despite being a married womaniser, Selfridge sought to empower these women through the introduction of lavish department stores. The telling of this side of history is what sustained my interest.
The first episode ends with the drama just beginning to unfold. Expect more scandal to follow in subsequent episodes, as Selfridges’ world begins to unravel at its perfectly stitched seams.
Mr Selfridge starts on Sunday January 6th on ITV1 at 9pm.