For Anglophiles the world over, any day that involves a glimpse into another well-produced period drama is a good day. Following the success of its first season, the Jeremy Piven-fronted ITV/PBS series, Mr. Selfridge has been tapped for a second, the trailer for which was recently unveiled. And from the 60-seconds we see in the clip, five years have passed between the dealings of season one and the upcoming season two, bringing with it an assortment of changes and a fresh perspective on the dramatic dealings of one of business’ most colorful characters.
An adaptation of Lindy Woodhead's biography Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge, the series was a hit in ITV’s home territory, nabbing more than 7 million UK viewers in its premiere episode. Its first season aired on PBS (under the Masterpiece Classic moniker) in March of 2013 in the states (but to lower numbers and acclaim), where the second season will also live — though a premiere date has not been settled on either side of the pond.
Harry Gordon Selfridge was an interestingly manic sort of man. A natural salesman from the word go, the Chicago native spent time working at Marshall Field’s before heading to London to change the way Britain’s elite did their shopping. But it was no easy road to tow: Selfridge hit many a road bump — exacerbated by his intensity and drive towards a vision of commerce, revolutionized. But with a slew of shading dealings, a little bit of elbow grease, and a gaggle of the town’s best shopgirls, Selfridge’s came to be, and did so quite successfully. It’s truly impressive that the department store stayed open at all, let alone actually follow through on Selfridge’s plan to change the way people shop.
Selfridge was a man that “combined guile, taste, boldness, the poise of swindler and the seductive charm of a Casanova,” — according to a PBS press release — making the attachment of Ari Gold’s real-life alter ego an unsurprising choice. In the trailer, though, Piven’s charismatic and charming American man in London gets not so much screen time as he does speech-making time, no doubt rallying the troops for another season of dramatic dealings and saucy scandals.
“These last five years you have shared my vision and we’ve worked together to make Selfridge’s a truly great house for business," Mr. Selfridge states while flashes of season two appear on screen. "Who knows what the next five years will hold: these are uncertain times. But we will face whatever comes our way together. So it’s more important than ever to pull together and look to the loyalty and love of those around us. It might be my name on the door, but behind that door, you are the ones that matter, I thank you. For everything!”
Mr. Selfridge airs on PBS in the US and ITV1 in the UK and will be “open for business” in 2014.