Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Paradise

Here are a few stills from the new BBC costume drama, 'The Paradise'. The story is based on Emile Zola's 1883 novel 'Au Bonheur Des Dames', and is directed by Marc Jobst. Costume design is by Alison Lyons.

Set in the early 1870s, it tells the story of Denise (Joanna Vanderham), a young girl working in a modern and mesmerising department store. It's costumes and textiles galore, with wonderful Victorian clothing, as well as a focus on womenswear and haberdashery sections of the store. Our protagonist works as a Sales Assistant at The Paradise, serving immaculately dressed, incredibly wealthy women. The department store is a thriving and modernising one, run by the fanciable John Moray (Emun Elliot).

Like the legendary 'Downton Abbey', 'The Paradise' gives us a taste of upstairs and downstairs life - but perhaps with a more modern twist. I'd say this production is much more suited to a contemporary audience - the classes interact with each other more, and the characters are altogether more relatable. Personally, I'm liking BBC dramas, as opposed to the ITV equivalents, more and more. Of course, it all started with last Christmas' 'Great Expectations' starring Douglas Booth... Which reminds me, the (beautiful!) title sequences of these two programmes are incredibly similar! It turns out, both were designed by the same title designer, Nic Benns.

'The Paradise' is an 8-part series airing on BBC One - catch the last two episodes on BBC iPlayer, or watch on Tuesdays at 9PM. Also, watch out for the rival ITV department-store-period-drama, 'Mr Selfridge', due to be aired in January 2013.

(Photos from the BBC website)

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