Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
The Paradise is a British television costume drama series co-produced by BBC Worldwide America and Masterpiece. The Paradise premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 25 September 2012 and premiered in the United States on PBS on 6 October 2013.The series is an adaptation of Émile Zola’s novel Au Bonheur des Dames that relocates the story to North East England.
A second series was commissioned by BBC One in late October 2012 and was broadcast on 20 October 2013 on BBC One. On 12 February 2014, the BBC confirmed that The Paradise would not return for a third series. They cited that the programme had lower figures than other relatively new dramas such as Death in Paradise, Sherlock and Silk. Furthermore, its ITV rival Mr Selfridge was performing better. The BBC also commented that the show was enjoyable: “However, in order to make room for new dramas to come through, The Paradise won’t be returning.”
Series 1 begins in 1875, and portrays the lives and loves of the people who work, shop and trade, in and around the first English department store. The owner of The Paradise department store is widower John Moray (Emun Elliott, Paradox, Threesome). Moray was once a draper’s boy in Emersons, the small shop that grew under his managership into The Paradise, which has come to dominate the high street to the detriment of small shopkeepers nearby.
Into this world comes Denise Lovett (Joanna Vanderham, The Runaway), from the small town of Peebles in Scotland, whose uncle Edmund (Peter Wight, Hit & Miss) is one of the shopkeepers struggling to survive. Denise takes a job at The Paradise and is soon seen by Moray as a rising star, to the annoyance of Miss Audrey (Sarah Lancashire, Happy Valley), the head of ladies’ fashion, and of Clara (Sonya Cassidy), a fellow shopgirl. Moray is financially dependent on Lord Glendenning (Patrick Malahide, Extras, Game of Thrones), whose daughter Katherine (Elaine Cassidy, Harper’s Island) is determined to marry Moray and sees Denise as a direct threat to her ambitions.