“Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.”
As soon as ITV began advertising Mr Selfridge I knew that I wanted to watch it. Come on people, it’s a period drama about a shop. And not just any shop: Selfridge’s, possibly the most famous shop in London. What’s not to like?
But, as is often the case with such things, Mr Selfridge did not exactly live up to its potential. It tells the story of the founding of Selfridge’s, the problems it faced, the ideology of its eponymous founder (“I’m going to make shopping thrilling!” exclaims Jeremy Piven in an irritating American accent), the excitement it promoted. It’s all vaguely Going Postal-ish, and even has similar music.
The best scenes are those dealing with the shop, with all the preparations for opening, staff hiring, decoration etc. The scenes between Mr and Mrs Selfridge are just intolerably syrupy, and you can see the cliche of “husband who cares too much about work and not enough about family” looming in future episodes. And can someone tell me what Becky from Coronation Street is doing in Edwardian London? Has she stolen Lewis’ TARDIS?
Overall, fairly entertaining but light on emotional development. Just like shopping, then.