High price of true love
Attention, shoppers: the new season of UK department- store drama The Paradise is now airing on ABC1. Guy Davis discovers what lies ahead for series star Joanna Vanderham.
You may think any drama involving a department store begins and ends with avoiding being crushed by desperate shoppers as you try to snag a bargain in the Boxing Day sales.
Ah, but that was before the UK drama The Paradise graced our screens.
The first season followed the personal and professional fortunes of smart, ambitious shop girl Denise Lovett ( Joanna Vanderham) as she took a job at the upmarket 19th century emporium of the title and won the heart of its widowed owner, John Moray ( Emun Elliot).
That didn’t sit well with Katherine Glendenning ( Elaine Cassidy), the daughter of Moray’s financial backer – she had designs on Moray herself
So when Moray declared his love for Denise, it cost him The Paradise.
And as the second season of the show gets under way on ABC1, Katherine and her new husband Tom Weston ( Ben Daniels) are running the store. But she still longs for her lost love … and Denise and Moray are still plotting to get The Paradise back.
For Vanderham, these new developments proved thrilling, both as a star of the show and a fan of the storylines.
She admits it was frustrating having to wait to find out what was ahead for The Paradise’s characters in the show’s second season.
“I wanted to know what happens!” she laughed. “When I got the scripts I read them all straight away.”
Almost as testing was the passive role her character played in the first season.
“The fact she was so contained was frustrating at times,” Vanderham said.
“I wanted to push her but she had to be the linchpin. If the audience didn’t like Denise, they weren’t going to watch the rest of the show. As an actor, I was like, ‘ Give me more!’ And this season they did.”
The ongoing relationship between Denise and Moray will develop further, although Vanderham admits it will not necessarily run smoothly.
“We don’t want to give them their gratification too soon,” she said. “It becomes a very boring story
Vanderham: “As the series goes on, for whatever motives Tom Weston might have, he starts to take advantage of Denise’s abilities, professionalism and work ethic.”
if everybody’s just happy. As much as Denise is happy, she needs to have something to want.”
That comes in the form of her desire to turn The Paradise – and herself – into a success, which leads to a complicated bond with Katherine’s new husband, Tom.
“As the series goes on, for whatever motives Tom might have, he starts to take advantage of Denise’s abilities, professionalism and work ethic,” Vanderham said.
“So that becomes an interesting storyline. How does Moray feel about that? She’s torn again between the ambition and the desire to be with this man.
“There’s the whole issue of who owns The Paradise and who would be upset by [ Denise and Moray] getting together. The ambition they both have, they put that in front of their union. The fact they both need the store so much more is really interesting.”
So the plot thickens, which begs the question: will there be a third season of The Paradise, which has proven popular both in the UK and internationally? Vanderham is keeping quiet on that front.
“I am saying nothing,” she smiled. “That’s a giant ‘ no comment’.”
The Paradise, ABC1, Saturday, 7.30pm