I was not at all sure about Mr Selfridge the series (I mean, what can it be about, I thought, it's like sucking a story out of a thumb!). BUT, by episode three of the first season I was fully converted (you have to live through the longish pilot episode). I was addicted to the story of ostentatious and flamboyant Harry Gordon Selfridge (excellently cast Jeremy Piven), the American brain and power behind the top London department store Selfridge & Co. He is a force of nature, ready to charm you off your feet! First season opens with Mr Selfridge planning to open the store while his business partners pull out, and the season close with Selfridges the store blooming and Selfridges the flashy American in the midst of family troubles. Second season is much darker, it picks up in 1914 as Selfridge & Co. celebrates its fifth anniversary while Europe is on the brink of war.
There are affairs, there are brilliant outfits, there are bohemian artists and stolen kisses, there is a spirit of a dead wife, a very sexy Frenchy (and quite annoying Italian) and one and only Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Each episode explores different themes but ultimately it's all about love, loss, ambition and the new era - the beginning of the Twentieth Century! The series are beautifully filmed, interiors and exteriors are well researched and some of the fashions are original outfits from the bygone era - this all makes London of the early twentieth century look rich and elegant.
I heard a number of complains about the slight annoyance of Jeremy Piven and/or inability of Mr Selfridge the series to compare with the "Downton Abbey". All I can say - no complaints from me! This is a brilliant, upbeat but thoughtful, somewhat educational (I think so!), good-hearted series. And I cannot wait to watch the third season.