Sunday, October 6, 2013
The Paradise on PBS Masterpiece
Well my dear readers, The Paradise is finally here on PBS Masterpiece starting tonight at 9 pm. This BBC offering is an adaptation of Émile Zola's novel Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Paradise) but moving the early department store to the North of England instead of Paris.
Tonight we follow Denise Lovett (played by Joanna Vanderham) as she moves from her small town in the North of England to get a job with her uncle in his draper's shop. He is unable to hire her as he is getting squeezed out by "The Paradise", located across the street and one of the first high end department stores in England.
Denise of course gets a job there instead and promptly falls in love with the gorgeous boss, John Moray (played scrumptiously by Emun Elliott). So you see where this is going of course! A bit of back stabbing amongst the shop girls, a love triangle involving the boss and...well...I don't want to give it all away!
Speaking of scrumptious, my preference in male characters is Dudley (played by Matthew McNulty), Mr. Moray's right hand man and friend from childhood. He is gorgeous and that lovely Northern accent reminds me of a certain other Victorian Northerner, Mr. Thornton! My online friends will know what I mean!
Although based on a wonderful novel by Émile Zola, don't expect high art from this series. This is more Downton Abbey than it is Pride and Prejudice. However it looks like a lot of fun. And my friends in the UK seemed to like this one better than the similar ITV offering Mr. Selfridge. I think NOT having Jeremy Piven in this makes me like it better already. I am not a JP fan!
If you enjoy Victorian dresses as much as I do, you will appreciate this one for the fashion alone, but it seems there is much more to it than pretty costumes. The Beeb has already commissioned a second series which is a good sign, but then ITV is doing more Mr. Selfridge as well. Perhaps the battle of the Victorian/Edwardian department store series will be determined conclusively when we get to see the second seasons!
So tighten your corsets my friends and enjoy the ride. It will likely be a bumpy, melodramatic but satisfying romp. And come back and comment with your impressions after you watch the first episode.
P.S. Apologies for not including the caveat "Check local listings". My local station WNED is at it again, not airing something that PBS has sent me promotional material on! Grrrr!!! If you are in the USA, the first episode is available online for a limited time, so catch it while you can.