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Masterpiece Classic: Mr. Selfridge (UK Edition)

4.5 out of 5 stars 7,989 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Emmy® Award-winning actor Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”) stars as American entrepreneur and colorful retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge.

Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for early 1900s Londoners where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining – or sometimes just eccentric – was showcased. Based on the book “Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge” by author Lindy Woodhead.

The eight-part miniseries also stars Frances O’Connor (“Madame Bovary”), Aisling Loftus (“Page Eight”), Zoe Tapper (“Zen”), Amanda Abbington (“Case Histories”), and Samuel West (“Any Human Heart”).

Much like the department store it depicts, Mr. Selfridge presents a sumptuous display of gorgeous clothing, magnificent hairstyles, and enviable period decor. Jeremy Piven (Entourage) stars as bluff, driven Harry Selfridge, who arrives in London at the start of the 20th century determined to launch a modern retail empire, promoting the notion of shopping as a pleasure unto itself. The series explores the cultural shifts of the time--the rise of advertising, women's emancipation, and more--while following a sudsy series of affairs and scandals among the store's staff, as well as the marital turmoil of Selfridge himself. Most engaging is a young clerk, Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus), who's torn between a handsome waiter at the store's restaurant and the dashing French window decorator Henri Leclair (Grégory Fitoussi), who also woos Agnes for her creative contributions to his designs. Unfortunately, the series' writing isn't as enticing as its fabrics; the recurring financial crises and romantic travails never seem to amount to much real emotion or suspense, and the characters never take on much dimension. Piven, who you'd think would be perfect for the role, is oddly leaden and never seems to have much of a fire within for business or sex. His best scenes capture moments of doubt; his brash facade doesn't have much charisma, but when his smile loses its plastic cheer, it's hard not to sympathize with his failing confidence. However, for anyone who's lusted after the outfits in Downton Abbey and other Edwardian dramas, Mr. Selfridge will be a feast for the eyes. --Bret Fetzer

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Piven, Frances O'Connor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013
  • Run Time: 490 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7,989 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B62R9XM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,072 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Well,I happen to like Mr. Selfridge. The acting is stupendous and the characters are exquisitely dressed.
The sets are top notched. To try and compare this drama to Downton Abby is like trying to compare Are you being served? to Mr. Bean.
Both are delightful alone but use completely different type of Britsh humor.
Even-though the time-frame of Mr.Selfridge and Downton overlap,their stories are completely different.
One can enjoy both,differently.
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Format: DVD
I stumbled across this series by accident one Sunday night on ITV and became fascinated. As the reviewers above have discussed in detail there is some unevenness in the story and character development and to be expected the acting and it's hard to know why but despite these flaws - or maybe because of them - since the series is based on a real character and events which are by definition flawed - you are captivated and just want to see and learn more about Mr. Selfridge and his time in London. I became fascinated by his story through this series and desperately wanted to learn more about him. I've now ordered the book the series is based on as well as the book Mr. Selfridge wrote himself in the '30s - "The Romance of Capitalism". I learnt that many things we consider 'normal' in retail today were introduced by Mr. Selfridge - "There are only 'x' more shopping Days 'till Christmas"; the customer is always right; special events to get people into a store; getting shoppers into a store without any specific purpose - just to 'window-shop' and keep them in there longer than needed to buy the item they came in for by having a store restaurant (The Palm Room) a reading room, relaxing room etc. - were all innovations put into practice by Mr. Selfridge and are woven into the series. It's a fascinating story and the series does a good job getting this larger than life person and personality onto a tiny screen. Thanks for a good job done - I can't wait for Season 2!
5 Comments 140 of 151 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
The new British soap opera "Mr. Selfridge" has a certain frothy charm that will likely appeal to many viewers looking for something a bit more lighthearted from the Masterpiece Classic mantle. Ironically (or strangely) enough, "Mr. Selfridge" is the second series set in the world of retail to arrive on British airwaves this season following the popular "The Paradise." The show, which runs for 10 episodes (not 8 as are currently listed in the product description), is centered around the formation of Selfridge's Department Store in London after the turn of the century. Although the idea of the show is based in fact, I'm not entirely sure I would even call this a historical drama. It adheres more to the lines of a classic soap opera, with an ensemble of characters engaging in the expected romantic subplots and looking resplendent in period finery. The hat budget alone must surely be frightening (as are some of Mrs. Selfridge's hats)! It never digs particularly deep into complex characterizations, but it breezes along at a nice clip making for a likable enough concoction. Along the way, we see the birth of retail and a romanticized way of life from an era gone by.

Jeremy Piven plays the titular character, a flamboyant American with dreams of retail grandeur. It's a showy lead and often over-the-top, but it's one that fits comfortably into Piven's wheelhouse. Piven's most notorious role, of course, is that of unscrupulous Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage" where his over-sized performance was hysterically unrepentant. As Selfridge, he displays some of this same manic energy if not the profane hilarity. He isn't a saint, though, as he has an eye for the ladies despite being married. But I think that the audience is meant to find his antics more humorous than hurtful.
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4 Comments 173 of 198 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
While I know the first season of Mr. Selfridge has yet to be released, I actually had the opportunity to view it on-line from the UK. If the next season(s) progresses in the manner this season did, I believe it's a hit. I read "Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge" a while back before viewing the show. This production obviously takes dramatic license in many regards, but that can be forgiven as long as one realizes that some of the events few might be based on real events, others are added or are the result of some rumors and speculations.

I believe Jeremy Piven shares only a few physical characteristics (stature, build, energy and moustache) of the real Selfridge, but he managed to be very believable in the role. The character is played with both sensitivity and sometimes flare. He has a ridge facade up when he's being watched, but when the only eye on him is the camera, we're able to see another side of pain and self-doubt to the infamous Harry Selfridge. Piven and the writers were able to make Harry Selfridge both seriously flawed and noble at the same time. You can be angry with him and love him simultaneously. No small feat. It was refreshing to see Piven in a role that had such a completely different vibe than the renown Ari Gold character from Entourage. He obviously is able to calibrate his performance to the script; this series pretty much proves that.

The ensemble of characters works very well, and the numerous story arcs keep one's interest. The character of Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus)is a delight to watch as the character starts to blossom under the store and window lights of the store. While a supporting character, Ron Cook (Mr. Crabb) manages to be often pulls off the nonplussed and bewildered, yet always competent accountant in an endearing manner.
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UK edition?
Yes, this UK DVD will play on U.S.players because it has been converted to NTSC Region 1. If you bought it in the would not play because that is PAL Region 2. One way around all this is to purchase a player that plays all regions or formats. Those players are standard in the U.K.but not... Read More
May 5, 2014 by Scaramouche44 |  See all 2 posts
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