Mr Selfridge is back! It’s wonderful to have been the lead writer on another series of the show. In this third season we are taking our characters down surprising avenues, exploring darker situations for them.
It’s 1919 and the whole of England – including the Selfridge family and the store employees – are searching for ways to recover from the devastation of the Great War. Everyone has lost somebody; everyone has suffered change. How do you move on from such a cataclysmic event? How do you look forward and get on with your life?
Harry Selfridge, reeling from a personal grief, will make many mistakes over the ten episodes of this series. He will sew the seeds of his own downfall. Selfridges, the store, is still shining bright on Oxford Street today, but the Selfridge family is no longer at the helm. How did one man create such a magnificent store and then lose it? It seems like the harder Harry tries, the more he puts himself at risk. Looking for ways to maintain the Selfridge family legacy, and at the same time to help the country recover from War, he unwittingly makes himself vulnerable.
And he has enemies, both seen and unseen.
Lord Loxley is back in town. He’s made a fortune, but he’s lost his most prized possession, Lady Mae. Loxley blames Harry and the battle between the two men rages over the boardroom table, as Loxley accrues shares and tries to oust Harry as Chairman of the store.
Harry is also in trouble on the home front. His eldest daughter Rosalie has married the son of a Russian Emigree Princess. Serge wants to exploit his new family connections and his penniless mother, Princess Marie, is keen to get her hands on Selfridge money. But the real problems kick in when Loxley and Serge team up against Harry…
Our store characters are facing challenges as well: Accommodating the men coming back from War, both at home and in the shop, is extremely difficult. Many of them, disabled and injured, are now unfit for work. They resent the women who have taken their jobs. On a more intimate level, tensions are at breaking point between couples. Agnes struggles to understand a traumatised Henri; Doris is hiding a terrible secret from Mr Grove; Miss Mardle must adjust to the realisation that she is alone again.
But the human spirit is naturally optimistic, and in the face of all these problems, there’s only one thing to do… dress up, go out and dance! London has become a party City and Harry’s daughter, Violette, symbolises the restless age, out all night dancing until she drops. Harry, as always, takes the pulse of the moment, inviting French designers to show their couture dresses at the store, and launching a huge Beauty promotion from the Selfridges roof garden. Victor has also seen his chance, setting up a glamorous night club, and hiring a Dixieland band. If they’re not dancing, our characters are flying in aeroplanes or driving motor cars at speed. They’re reaching out for excitement, they’re breaking new boundaries.
Writing and storylining the third series of Mr Selfridge, I wanted it to be a frenetic ride, full of muscular story and energy. Gone is the understated elegance of the Edwardian era. We’re on the cusp of the ‘Twenties and I hope the roar will resonate in your ears.
Mr Selfridge stars Jeremy Piven and season three begins on ITV Sunday 25 January.