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Mr Selfridge, Series 3, ITV | reviews, news & interviews

Mr Selfridge, Series 3, ITV

Mr Selfridge, Series 3, ITV

Despite the ravages of the Great War, the retailing saga bounces back looking fighting fit

The Russians come to Oxford Street: Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven, with beard) gives away his daughter Rosalie (Kara Tointon)

Mercifully not preceded by a Broadchurch-style hype-tsunami, the new series of Mr Selfridge has slipped neatly back into the Sunday 9pm slot as if it's the rightful owner just back from a year of travelling round the world. It's not revolutionary, ground-breaking or "subversive", but equipped with some new characters and promising plotlines, this opening episode ushered us into the post-World War One era with a spring in its step and the wind in its hair.

However, first we had to dispatch poor Rose Selfridge, Harry's much-loved wife (who was played by Frances O'Connor, latterly of The Missing), whose demise, not unlike that of Isis the labrador in Downton Abbey, had been heavily semaphored in the last series. Rose was laid to rest in a charming country churchyard in pouring rain, but at least Harry's grief was assuaged by the prospect of his daughter Rosalie's imminent wedding (Mr Selfridge the aviator, pictured below).

A bit of x-factor has been injected into the Selfridge household, since Rosalie is now played by Kara Tointon (of EastEnders and Strictly fame), and her younger sister Violette is played by Kara's younger sister Hannah. Watch out, you Crawley girls! Kara, sporting quite a good American accent, has married an emigre Russian called Serge De Bolotoff, which means she also has to get used to a histrionic and controlling mother-in-law, Princess Marie (Zöe Wanamaker, wielding a Russian accent thick enough to sink the Battleship Potemkin). "I voz hounded out by zer Bolsheviks," drawled Marie.

Looks like these Russians are going to be much more troublesome than the ones in Downton Abbey (can this parallel Russification of Mr Selfridge be mere coincidence?). Serge, a bombastic spoiled oaf fond of wine, women and spending other people's money – shrewd choice if I may say so, Rosalie –  wants Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven) to buy him an aerodrome in Acton while also bankrolling the manufacture of his own aeroplane. He grew petulant when Harry, who hates being hustled, dug his heels in.

Harry's paternal alarm bells began to clang as he sensed that Rosalie's anticipated marital bliss was holed below the waterline before it had even begun, and worse is in prospect. Already, Serge is being groomed by Harry's despicable nemesis Lord Loxley (Aidan McArdle), who is plotting revenge since (in his view) Harry was instrumental in taking his wife Lady Mae away from him. Expect heavy squalls of bad karma.

There was happier news for Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus), since her dashing French love-eurrr Henri (Grégory Fitoussi) has returned from filming the new series of Spiral... I meant to say after surviving the trenches of the Western Front (pictured above, Piven, Fitoussi and Loftus). Instant nuptials ensued, and the only cloud on the horizon is that Henri is suffering hallucinations of dead French soldiers. Meanwhile Miss Mardle (Amanda Abbington) is bearing up with typical stoicism after losing her young Belgian lover, Florian, in the war, while ex-Selfridges employee Victor Colleano has opened a nightclub but is being forced to pay protection money to corrupt cops. What do they think this is, Peaky Blinders? Lots of fun in store.

The only cloud on the horizon is that Henri is suffering hallucinations of dead French soldiers


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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