PBS brings viewers to another early 1900s world in 'Mr. Selfridge'

Harry Selfridge made shopping fun. Though many Americans may not know his name, the eight-part series “Mr. Selfridge” begins on PBS' “Masterpiece Classic” at 8 p.m. Sunday on OETA-13.
By Jacqueline Cutler Modified: March 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm •  Published: March 30, 2013
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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” at 8 p.m. Sunday on OETA-13, 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 said.

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.

“I lump it in with ‘Downton,' but it has a pace all its own,” Piven said. “It has a sense of humor. Those who like period drama, come in; you will not be disappointed. And those who don't now where PBS is, come in; it is a totally accessible world.”

Sure, it's a far more mannered universe, yet human nature stays the same.

“People have the same demons,” Piven said. “They are not hiding behind an iPhone and texting. You have to go face to face. You can't hide. To me, what better time to depict as an actor?”

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