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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

 

Mr. Selfridge on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC
Who knew shopping could be like this!

 

Premiering Sunday, March 31st at 8 p.m. on WTVP-HD.

Jeremy Piven as Harry Gordon Selfridge

Jeremy Piven stars as the upstart American who taught the English how to shop in Mr. Selfridge, a sumptuous new series created by Emmy® Award-winning writer Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House), and airing on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC, beginning with the two-hour premiere on Sunday, March 31st at 8:00pm on WTVP-HD 47.1. The series continues Sundays from 8-9 p.m. from April 7-May 19, with each episode encoring the following Thursday at 9 p.m. However, due to the 40th Annual WTVP Auction, which airs April 25 – 28, Episode 5 will only air Thursday, May 2 at 9:00pm. Call The Midwife Season 2, another new British drama, also premieres on March 31 at 7pm.

Mr. Selfridge marks the first television role for Piven since his portrayal of movie agent Ari Gold in the hit series Entourage. Now, the three-time Emmy® winner tackles another power player in the world of glitz: Harry Gordon Selfridge, father of the renowned London department store that bears his name and which opened to astonishment and some disdain in 1909.

Fancy window displays, cosmetics counters, merchandise you can touch, and other marketing breakthroughs had to start somewhere, and they sprang from the genius of Chicago native Selfridge, who combined guile, taste, boldness, the poise of a swindler, and the seductive charm of a Casanova—qualities that spelled success but also trouble.

The cast includes Zoe Tapper (Stage Beauty) as Ellen Love, showgirl, temptress, and the sexy “face of Selfridge's”; Frances O’Connor (Madame Bovary) as Rose, Harry’s loyal but independent wife; Grégory Fitoussi (Spiral) as the mercurial Henri LeClair, window designer extraordinaire; and Aisling Loftus (Case Histories) as spunky shop girl Agnes Towler, who gets the lucky break of her life thanks to a chance encounter with Harry.

Also appearing are Katherine Kelly (Coronation Street) as Lady Mae, socialite and siren; Ron Cook (Little Dorrit) as Mr. Crabb, Harry’s pathologically nervous chief accountant; Amanda Abbington (Case Histories) as Miss Mardle, the lovelorn head of accessories; and Samuel West (Any Human Heart) as newspaper editor Frank Edwards, Harry’s go-between in courting English money and mistresses.

Mr. Selfridge opens with the newly arrived Harry, fresh from success at Marshall Field's in Chicago, checking the retail climate in London. Marshall Field pioneered the slogan, “The customer is always right.” But Harry finds that a demanding customer in England is likely to get thrown out of the store. Customers are expected to know what they want and, when presented with it, to make their purchase and leave.

Furthermore, English ladies get their dresses from dressmakers who make house calls, and beauty products are a hush-hush subject, associated with actresses and prostitutes.

But all of that is about to change. Channeling the consumer culture of the future, Harry invents a shopping experience that is a cross between theater and fantasy fulfillment. When the intrepid Frenchman Louis Blériot makes the first flight across the English Channel, Harry grandly displays the plane and pilot at Selfridges. When the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova becomes the talk of the town, Harry invites the public to meet her at his store.

Whatever the latest sensation, Harry hitches his star to it. Truly, in his personal life, as in his business, he is addicted to the sensational—which creates exciting complications for all concerned.

 

 

Mr. Selfridge is a Co-Production of ITV Studios and MASTERPIECE. It is created and written by Andrew Davies and is inspired by “Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge” by Lindy Woodhead. The executive producers are Andrew Davies, Kate Lewis for ITV Studios and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE. The producers are Jeremy Piven and Chrissy Skinns. The co-producer is Carmel Maloney. The writers are Kate Brooke and Kate O'Riordan. The director of part one is Jon Jones. The director of parts two and three is John Strickland. The director of parts four, five, and six is Anthony Byrne. The director of parts seven and eight is Michael Keillor.

 

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MASTERPIECE CLASSIC on PBS is presented by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking River Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation, with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future.

pbs.org/masterpiece

 

 

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For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org

 


 

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