June 11, 2015 5 Comments

Filming its fourth season now, this British drama came about as a way to compete with the delightful and popular ITV drama, Downton Abbey. (Or that’s what the articles say.) Just wrapping its third season, I think I can say with relative coherency, this series “grows up,” a lot. It still doesn’t capture me in the same way as the Crawley family, but it has moments.  

Mr. Selfridge, Series Three (2014) ITV Review

The Selfridge family is mourning. WWI may be over, but in the Selfridge household, it feels like sorrow is just touching them. Harry (Jeremy Piven) must say goodbye to his wife after a short illness and attempts to run his successful business without his wife at his side. Shortly thereafter, the family experiences a joyful day with the marriage of eldest daughter Rosalie (Kara Tointon) to Serge De Bolotoff (Leon Ockenden). Serge is a dreamer with aspirations to someday build his own plane… but despite a wealthy name to his credit, he and his mother (Zoë Wanamaker) are less than independently wealthy. Then there is middle daughter, Violette (Hannah Tointon), the daughter that seems most poised to give Harry trouble – particularly when she takes up with Victor (Trystan Gravelle), who is working towards his own nightclub.  

‘MR. SELFRIDGE,’ SERIES THREE. Review of the 2014 ITV season with Jeremy Piven and Amanda Abington. All text © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

Distracting him from his problems, Harry throws himself into a project to help returning soldiers migrate back into working life. He begins working with Nancy Webb (Kelly Adams), a woman who might not be all she seems. At the store, Agnes (Aisling Loftus)reunites with Henri (Grégory Fitoussi) and yet nothing is right in their world.

Married life doesn’t seem to suit Henri whose memories of the war threaten to tear him and Agnes apart. Mr. Crabb (Ron Cook) is frustrated by his boss’ lack of interest in the store while young Gordon Selfridge (Greg Austin) continues to rise in rank at the store. Then there is Miss Mardle (Amanda Abbington). Suffering from her own loss, she finally returns to work and settles into a new position while employee Kitty Hawkins (Amy Beth Hayes) is caught in a battle with out-of-work soldiers. To make matters more complicated Lord Loxly (Aidan McArdle) returns to London with one thing on his mind: revenge.  

‘MR. SELFRIDGE,’ SERIES THREE. Review of the 2014 ITV season with Jeremy Piven and Amanda Abington. All text © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

There is nary a dull moment or lull in this one season. Because of the volume of characters and story arcs for those characters, there are several plots going on in each episode, and they nearly all carry on throughout the entire season. There are rarely new stories cropping up once the first episode or two sets things into motion. One story is wraps up by episode four, which is both nice and a little bit sad (especially given the character’s popularity). If you prefer more focused dramas, this one likely is best to skip for that reason alone. But if you don’t mind sometimes “messy” (a term used in the best sense of the word) period dramas, then let’s talk about Mr. Selfridge’s third season.    

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‘MR. SELFRIDGE,’ SERIES THREE #FWarchives #PeriodDrama Click To Tweet
‘MR. SELFRIDGE,’ SERIES THREE. Review of the 2014 ITV season with Jeremy Piven and Amanda Abington. All text © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

Part of the intrigue and individuality of this production is its basis in reality. Certainly the screenplay does take liberties, however I love that someone chose to produce a drama about this family. What surprises me most about this season is its “lighter” themes. I had read this would be a dark season and while there’s definitely tragedies or issues that touch on sensitive topics, because Harry wasn’t such a miserable wreck, everything seems “better.” Seriously given how easily I can dislike Harry, seeing him shape up and actually be a responsible adult this season is a breath of fresh air. On that same tract, I have to say I’m disappointed in the ending which will lead into season four. I can appreciate the writers attempt to construct a realistic portrait, but I do wish they wouldn’t go to these lengths. Harry’s better as a responsible albeit still charismatic human being. With exception to that one nagging feeling, I love this series. The characters, the costumes, the setting (the store set is amazing), the interactions, everything about the production quality is charming.  

There is drama and laughter, familial fall out and unlikely friendships, revenge and romance. All of which is delivered with the same aplomb we expect from this show. The costumes speak for themselves (the picture heaviness is evidence) and of course, there’s the characters. I’ve come to love many, tolerate a few and admire Miss Mardle. That woman has gone through a great sense of character depth and growth. She’s now the confident, strong woman I did want to see back in season one; with exception to her one “weakness,” she’s a brilliant character. The new characters add some pizazz. A fun fact about the ladies that play Rosalie and Violette, the actresses are sisters in real life. Their scenes are honestly too few together. It’s been a great experience seeing the Selfridge kids grow up and become a more integral part of the series. But I’d like to see more of the youngest sister next season.  

‘MR. SELFRIDGE,’ SERIES THREE. Review of the 2014 ITV season with Jeremy Piven and Amanda Abington. All text © Rissi JC / RissiWrites.com

If you are a period drama aficionado, then you must look into watching this. There are plenty of ups and downs, yes, but up until this point, it’s been all worth it. Star Amanda Abingdon is quoted as saying season four will be the show’s last. This may be a good thing considering all that happens and what acts as a presumed lead-in for that fourth season. There’s joy in unexpected places and despite the flamboyant lifestyles the script often introduces, sometimes it’s in those quiet moments that the series really shines. If you are looking to be swept up in some great dramatic flair, make time for a trip to Selfridge’s, where your sure to be treated in style. 

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Mr. Selfridge, series three digitally on Amazon Video

Have you seen season three of Mr. Selfridge? Do you want to watch this series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below!  

Content: One character is in bed with his lover, and later Harry and his girlfriend are in bed together once or twice in various state of undress. Violette and her lover passionately kiss a time or two and later she says she “gave herself” to him. There may be one or two other innuendo.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Lydia June 12, 2015 at 12:04 AM

    Love your blog, Rissi, but I just wanted to clarify that both Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge are ITV productions. Mr Selfridge was initially launched at the same time as Call the Midwife, so here in the UK – many people speculated that they were competing for the same audience, but that kind of clash is common!
    It's interesting – some people here in the UK think that we show too much period drama, but it seems everywhere else, it is much loved!

    • Rissi June 12, 2015 at 2:55 AM

      Hi, Lydia. Thanks for the clarification. :)

      That is funny! You know, I could understand that… here in the states we have a lot of crime shows (not that I mind ;D), but are lacking in costume dramas. As for costume drama, I hope BBC/ITV and all of the common companies can make as many as they like. If they keep making them, I'll keep right on watching. ;)

      Thanks for being a reader. :)

  • Emma Clifton June 12, 2015 at 1:02 AM

    Ooooh, I love Mr. Selfridge!!!! But pretty much because I adore Leclair and Agnes (I was so happy with the end of season 2. I ship those two so hard) and now I ship Gordon and Grace…but Gordon's derpy moustache is irksome. :P i think the next season will be a little hard to watch…cause the real Harry Selfridge kinda went downhill…but I will watch it for Gordon and Grace. :)

    • Rissi June 12, 2015 at 2:57 AM

      As do I, Emma. It's a delightful show even with its flaws.

      I am right there with you. I've read that Harry goes a bit downhill. Makes me sad because I was so proud of him in this season. He made great strides and I detested how it all crashed in the finale. As for Gorgon and Grace, aren't they cute!? Hoping that will continue to blossom.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

  • […] SHOW REVIEW | Mr. Selfridge, Series Three […]

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