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The Paradise

Updated on August 30, 2014
Denise works as a shop girl in the world's first department store
Denise works as a shop girl in the world's first department store | Source

The Paradise is a period drama which takes place in North Eastern England in 1875. The show follows a young woman named Denise who takes a position working in the world's first department store, The Paradise. Viewers get an intriguing look at the inner workings of a large store in the 19th century as well as the impact such a store has on the smaller establishments near by. If you're looking for drama and love, don't worry - there's plenty of that too!

The Paradise is only 2 seasons long and here in the United States we are still waiting for Season 2 to become available. I watched Season 1 on Netflix and was immediately entranced. I watched all 8 episodes in one day and then watched them again giving myself more time to absorb it all. Since I am avoiding Season 2 spoilers this article will focus on the basics Season 1. No spoilers on the first season though either - I hate to ruin it for anyone else!

Book or Show?

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The Paradise's Inspiration

As it states in the credits, the BBC show, The Paradise was loosely based on the French novel, Au Bonheur des dames (The Ladies' Paradise) which tells the tale of a young woman named Denise who begins working in the first department store in Paris.

The book details the inner workings of early department stores, the rivalries between the women working there and the love story that develops between Denise and her employer, the widower, Mr. Mouret.

Those who are familiar with the show will see the similarities between the book and the show. The show, of course takes place in Northern England rather than Paris but many of the storylines and details have been taken from the book for a delightful and realistic drama.


The Paradise Store
The Paradise Store | Source

The Paradise Department Store

The Paradise is a fictional department store but it was based on real department stores of the era. In the book, the store was modeled after La Bon Marche's, the first department store in Paris.

In making the show, the BBC decided to move their department store from Paris to Newcastle and they modeled The Paradise store after Bainbridge's, which has claimed the status of being the first department store in the world. Bainbridge's opened in 1938 and still exists today although the name has been changed to John Lewis Newcastle.

The Paradise was filmed on location at Lambton Castle in County Durham. It was chosen for it's beautiful interior which BBC transformed to look like the inside of a luxiourious shop. TO read more about Lambton Castle and how it became The Paradise, please visit the BBC Website.

Lombard Castle

show route and directions
A markerBainbridge's -
Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK
get directions

Location of the world's first department store

B markerLambton Castle -
Lambton Castle, 1 High Street, Stockton-on-Tees, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1UB, UK
get directions

The Paradise filming location

Katherine, Miss Audrey, Denise and Mr. Moray
Katherine, Miss Audrey, Denise and Mr. Moray | Source

Characters and Cast

Character
Short Bio
Actor
Denise Lovett
shopgirl from Scotland
Joanna Vanderham
John Moray
The Paradise's Owner
Emun Elliott
Katherine Glendenning
Moray's love interest
Elaine Cassidy
Miss Audrey
Head of Ladies Wear
Sarah Lancashire
Dudley
Moray's Business Associate
Matthew McNulty
Edmund Lovett
Denise's Uncle
Peter Wight
Jonas
head of security
David Hayman
Clara
a shopgirl with a troubled past
Sonya Cassidy
Pauline
a cheerful shopgirl & Denise's friend
Ruby Bentall
Sam
a salesclerk
Stephen Wight
Arthur
young apprentice
Finn Burridge
Lord Glendenning
Katherine's father
Patrick Malahide
To avoid spoilers, I have only included the Season One main characters and cast

The Paradise Trailer

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The Paradise Review

This show, like many things seen on PBS Masterpiece entranced me. The costumes, the scenery and even the characters are beautiful and draw you right into the story. I love historical fiction so obviously, this was an easy choice for me when I saw it available on Netflix.

BBC's recreation of a 19th century department store is just stunning. I feel very jealous of the ladies who got to shop in such finery. It's nothing at all like the department stores of today which rush you about and throw bargain signs at you. Seeing the impact The Paradise had on small business really spoke to me as a small business owner as well. We sacrifice a lot for the convenience of shopping at the big stores. I never realized that department stores started so long ago.

The costumes are also gorgeous. I've never been the kind of girl who's really into fashion but hearing Denise talk about the new fashions from Paris was delightful. It's fun to watch the customers walk through the store in their finery and Katherine is always dressed to impress!

I'm a sucker for drama and The Paradise has that in spades, from abandoned babies to love triangles and so much more. My favorite part is watching the push and pull of the relationship between Moray and Denise. Seeing Moray fight with himself about his love for his dead wife, Katherine's love for him and his growing feelings for Denise gave my sentimental heart a tug.

Where To Watch

In the United States, The Paradise was shown by PBS Masterpiece.

Watch the first season of The Paradise online on Netflix or Amazon. The DVD is also available to purchase through Amazon and other retailers.

Season Two will premiere in the U.S. on September 28 at 8 pm ET on PBS.

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    • Sarah Switalski profile image
      Author

      Sarah Switalski 3 years ago from Iowa

      Thank you!

    • Janellegems profile image

      Janellegems 3 years ago from United States

      That's great Sarah.

    • Sarah Switalski profile image
      Author

      Sarah Switalski 3 years ago from Iowa

      Thank you Janellegems! I'm glad you're enjoying it! I plan to watch one more time before Season 2 premieres :)

    • Janellegems profile image

      Janellegems 3 years ago from United States

      Great Hub and what a thorough review of the Paradise. I just started watching this show on Netflix and I am enjoying it so far. I always love shows such as this one and many of the BBC mini series more than American shows. Voted up!!! Awesome, Useful and Beautiful.

    • Sarah Switalski profile image
      Author

      Sarah Switalski 3 years ago from Iowa

      Definitely see it if you can Billy! British imports are pretty much the only tv I watch these days. The TV is off most of the day when my kids are awake.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We rarely watch television, and I don't really miss it at all, but I do miss the British shows I once watched. Thanks for this review. Perhaps I'll try to find it and tune in the next time I feel the need for some entertainment.

    • Sarah Switalski profile image
      Author

      Sarah Switalski 3 years ago from Iowa

      Paul - thank you! It is one worth giving your total attention. I hope you enjoy it!

      Lisa - Me too! I was so disappointed that Season 2 wasn't available immediately after I finished Season 1. We don't have to wait too much longer :)

    • lisavollrath profile image

      Lisa Vollrath 3 years ago from Euless, Texas

      I love this show! I'm so looking forward to seeing season 2.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 3 years ago from Cheshire UK

      It's one of those programmes that we really must sit down and watch and you have certainly encouraged me to take a look with this great review.