Mr Selfridge, ITV, TV review

Mr Selfridge re-established its reputation as Downton’s racier cousin

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The Independent Culture

Jeremy Piven, formerlythe foul-mouthed publicist Ari Gold in HBO drama Entourage, was back on ITV last night for a second series of period drama Mr Selfridge. At a ceremony to mark the department store’s fifth anniv ersary, Selfridge/Piven gave a disappointingly F-word-free speech, speculating on the future: “Who knows what the next five years will bring?” Since this series is set at the start of 1914, those of us with the benefit of a hundred years’ hindsight could hazard a fair guess.

In the meantime, Mr Selfridge re-established its reputation as Downton’s racier cousin with the introduction of two intriguing new characters, both well calculated to upset the delicate balance of pre-war society.

Just when we’d come to terms with Becky from Corrie being posh now, her character, Lady Mae Loxley, had her status undermined by the unexpected appearance of a husband. Lord Loxley (a brilliantly odious Aidan McArdle) was back in town to indulge in some blackmailing, war profiteering and generally opposing the will of his much more sensible wife. Let the marital battle commence!

Lady Mae might want to follow the example of the show’s other new character, nightclub owner Delphine Day (Polly Walker), who had successfully rid herself of three husbands and embarked on a new career as a writer. At Mrs Selfridge’s behest, Harry reluctantly invited her to do a reading at the store. Is Harry simply jealous of her hold over his wife? Or is there more to this emancipated adventuress than meets the eye?