There are some shows that, even though I have little love for them, I keep watching regardless. Silly, I know, when you consider all the great things I could be watching but don’t. Part of the problem is that I haven’t quite got into the boxset bingeing that everyone else seems to be embrace. My Netflix viewing moves at a glacial pace. Plus my mother, she who owns the remote control, is a conservative TV viewer. She has her schedule, and my god, she sticks to it.

It is probably through her that I accidentally find myself watching the very shows I would normally not take an interest in. A prime candidate for this is Mr Selfridge, the soapy, biographical drama of the man behind one of the biggest brand names in retail. I spend most episodes puzzling out to myself if I like it, and why.

I think in a way, I do. It fills an hour of my existence and it has an innate genteelness that means it lulls you rather than jolts. It also has some reasonably interesting characters. Katherine Kelly’s Lady Mae is a personal favourite, owning every scene she is in. Sadly, many of the other strong characters have gone. Agnes Towler, whose meteoric rise in the company was the emotional drive of the first couple of seasons, has gone. Ditto Miss Merdle, another woman who grew in strength through the years, has left us. Those that are left do not fill the void.

But then this series is different from the off. It is darker, which is potentially why it has moved from being Sunday night fare to Friday’s. That, or ITV felt that War and Peace on BBC1 would pulverise it in the ratings. Anyway, the storm clouds are gathering. In the first two episodes alone, Selfridge falls of a building, loses money and crosses swords with his family in an increasingly petulant manner. He is entranced by the Dolly sisters, a pair of vacuous celebrities that are so irritating I was rather hoping that when Selfridge fell off the building he would land on them and accidentally kill them. Likewise, he is charmed by the all-too-obviously scheming Jimmy Dhillon, played by Sacha Dhawan. Even Lady Mae, normally a wise head, inconceivably is falling for his charms.

Essentially, this series is the tale of a man’s downfall. A Greek tragedy set in a shop, if you will. It’s unusual for a show this mainstream to tread such a downhearted path, but it is at least relatively accurate to the true story. It will upset any Downton fans though, who are hoping for a similar happy endings for all.

On that note, I find myself pondering how the end of Mr Selfridge will be received compared to Downton. I doubt there will be a special Bafta celebration of it. In fact, its exit from the schedules is unlikely to cause as much as a ripple. It is as frothy as its distant cousin, yet has never had the love lavished on it. I don’t expect to see it, twenty years from now, to be on any lists of memorable shows. Will I miss it? Not really. It did enough to fill the time, but no more. Maybe it will free up enough time for me to start watching something more worthy.

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