Calling all Downtown Abbey lovers! If you have found yourself loving sweet, dramatic, gorgeously costumed period dramas (like me) then I have a show for you. The Paradise is a BBC show about a young shopgirl, Denise, who finds work at The Paradise, a sumptuous department store. It is set around 1870 and centers around the life of the department store. There are plenty of quirky characters, romances, adventures, and mustache twirling villains. But the show also has heart.
It is sweet and funny, with much of the action revolving around the central pair of Denise and the owner of The Paradise, Mr. Moray. Denise is extremely clever, something that sets her apart from the other girls who work there and causes Mr. Moray to sit up and take notice. It also helps that she is very beautiful, of course. But Catherine Glendenning, Mr. Moray’s would-be fiancé, is having none of it. What I love most about it is the way it explores the rise of the department store and the commercialization of the fashion industry. Department stores were completely new at that time and watching everyone attempt to adapt to the change is fascinating.
The show is based on the Emile Zola novel, Au Bonheur des Dames, and ran for two seasons. Unfortunately it was cancelled after its second season. However, the two seasons are lovely and easy to run through when you have a spare weekend. Season one is up on Netflix already, with season two to follow shortly (one hopes). Enjoy mes amies!