The Paradise [DVD]
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Set amidst the Victorian splendour of Britain’s first department store, The Paradise is a rags-to-riches story of a young girl who falls in love with the intoxicating charms of the modern world. As Denise finds her feet as a lowly shop girl, she must navigate her way through power struggles, intrigues and affairs. When the shop’s dashing and reckless owner, John Moray, spots her talents she knows she can use this opportunity to rise to great things. Through sexy, episodic stories driven by romance and glamour, this series creates a world as colourful and captivating as the silks on display in the store. This is a love story, a story of ambition and progress, with a mysterious, dark secret at its heart.
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Top Customer Reviews
Denise is bright, attractive and is quick to spot a sales opportunity, not always to her colleagues' approval but attracts Moray's attention to her potential and looks. He is ambitious and is being strangled by the attentions of the spoilt little rich girl Katherine Glandenning superbly played by Elaine Cassidy whose stoical father is a wealthy banker (Patrick Malahide). The cunning and dislikeable Katherine uses her father's financial position to push the handsome Moray into a promised marriage. Moray has secrets. He is kept on his feet by his best friend and confidante. The sinister Jonus (David Hayman) lurks menacingly in the background.
Characters Arthur and Sam add to life and humour in the department store with their own personal problems and loyalties along with other staff members. Despite Denise's attempts to help her uncle and his fellow independents, the stranglehold of the haberdashery ('The Paradise') is seemingly unbeatable. The horrid, deluded Katherine (wicked witch of the North) is not to be thwarted with her marriage ambition despite Denise's presence. There are interesting revelations concerning the characters' pasts.Read more ›
In addition to the character driven story lines, this made for a nice look at the class divisions in Victorian England, how the worlds of the working class and the nouveau riche differed so enormously, yet in the end were both equally plagued by very human problems. It was a treat to watch simply for the respect paid to the era, and truly, this was an absolute gem of British programming.
In fact, I would go so far as saying this is arguably one of the best BBC productions in recent years, with its lush attention to detail in spite of the more limited budget, the authentic sets, sharp dialogue and impressive costumes. I was beginning to despair that our friends across the pond would ever produce a period drama of such high calibre again, but I am glad to have been proven so wrong in that regard. Anyone who loves classic British television should find this wonderful series a pleasure to watch.
The story begins when Denise, an impoverished but clever girl arrives in town. Slightly awkward and naive from a sheltered, rural upbringing, Denise hopes to stay with her uncle, a struggling dressmaker who has been unable to compete with the success of the Paradise across the street. Denise's uncle is unable to look after her, and, much to his chagrin, she is forced to seek work at The Paradise. She is placed in ladieswear and quickly her sharp eye and modern ideas get her noticed by Moray, and elicit both jealousy and respect in equal measure amongst the rest of the staff. The chemistry between Denise, played by Joanna Vanderham, and Moray (Emun Elliott) is natural and convincing, and they are clearly cut from the same cloth in terms of business acumen, if you'll pardon the pun. Then there is Moray's on-off girlfriend, Katherine Glendenning, a devious and controlling little coquette who wants Moray for her own, and whose father just so happens to have the financial power to make or break Moray's endeavor. Throw in a few flies in the ointment- Clara, a jealous but fragile colleague with an unhappy secret, Miss Audrey, a spinsterly superior desperate not to be usurped by Denise, and Mr Jonas, a Machiavellian henchman of Moray's and you have the makings of an excellent pot-boiler.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a class act from the BBC. Fantastic score (a must buy), very likeable characters and great sub plots evolving throughout the episodes. better than he second series.Published 23 days ago by firstname.lastname@example.org
Thoroughly enjoyed this DVD. Wish they would bring back the series.Published 2 months ago by Minimins
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