Jeremy Piven reprises his role as charismatic American-born British entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of the Oxford Street Department store. Whilst the first two series focused on the glitz and glamour, this third series sees the beginning of the end; the unravelling of Selfridge’s business venture.
The show returns with a great deal of momentum; a funeral, two weddings, a party for London to remember, and high flying tempers. Unfortunately, however, it comes with its flaws. This time, the Diseny-esque villain, Lord Loxley, is not the only ridiculous spectacle, and Mr Selfridge welcomes three embarrassing newcomers; accents, hats and Serge de Bolatoff (Leon Ockenden).
Harry’s oldest daughter is getting married, to the Russian prince Serge de Bolatoff no less. The groom, unlike Harry, is utterly detestable and seemingly without a single redeeming quality. What exactly Rosalie (Kara Tointon) sees in him so far remains a mystery. Serge is an arrogant, tactless playboy, obsessed with the Selfridge fortune. That fact that he has the face of a man begging to be punched does him few favours.
Zoe Wanamaker, taking on the role of Bolatoff’s mother, Princess Marie, seems to come with an endless supply of abominable hats, a number of which look like they’re about to take flight. As if that wasn’t enough, the Princess has an accent almost as atrocious as her dress sense. At the least, Zoe Wannamaker gives Princess Marie some depth, which is usually something the ‘Mr Selfridge’ villains tend to lack.
Putting aside Loxley’s threats, and the De Bolatoffs’s untoward behaviour, the question remains; Is Harry losing control? For the first time, we hear the staff wavering in their respect and adoration for Selfridge, whose son Gordon also voices displeasure about his father’s impractical and overly sentimental approach to business.
Elsewhere, Henri Leclaire (Gregory Fitoussi), our favourite saucy Frenchman, returns in his striking uniform. As if anyone needed reminding just how gorgeous and wonderfully French he is! Despite his impromptu wedding to the lovely Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus), all is not well, for no period drama about the post-war era can ignore the dreaded shellshock.
The series promises to be a rollercoaster for all our old favourites. The war having thrown everything off kilter, and with many returned with trauma and to poverty, nobody’s future is certain. With the Great Depression on the horizon, viewers can expect this season to take a dark turn. Hopefully ‘Mr Selfridge’ will maintain momentum, and doesn’t fall prey to pantomime-esque vendettas.
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