9 p.m. Sunday, Channel 9
Harry Selfridge made shopping fun. Sure, people always shopped, but it was more of a chore before Selfridge redefined the experience in 1909.
Though many Americans may not know his name, the lush eight-part series “Mr. Selfridge,” launching on PBS’ “Masterpiece Classic,” , brings viewers into his world. It’s well worth the visit.
Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”) is perfectly cast as the brash American in the title role.
“I would describe him as a burst of bright light, hopefully endearing and a powerful energy that possibly takes up a lot of energy in the room and yet is in love with what he does and his family and makes everyone in the room feel special,” Piven says.
It’s an apt description for the man who seems to always have something to prove and whose charisma enchants people.
Set in England around the same time as “Downton Abbey,” “Mr. Selfridge” is very much its own series.
Frances O’Connor (pictured above), who plays Rose, Selfridge’s wife, says when she shops there, “Your heart rate goes up. It is such a beautiful store, with high ceilings, and when you enter, it is so glamorous.”
Selfridge’s ideas were boldly American. He eschewed tradition for trendsetting — including prominently displaying cosmetics on the ground floor, when nice women did not even admit to using moisturizer. He coined the phrase “the customer is always right” and shook up London’s stuffy establishments.