Mr Selfridge Episode Four review: Dancing, paintings and fighting dominate the most enjoyable instalment of the series so far.

by Matt D


One of the issues I’ve had with Mr Selfridge over the few weeks is that it is fairly unbalanced with one storyline taking precedence over the others that have been bubbling under. However this week I found myself enjoying the programme more than I have over the past few weeks due to a lively paced episode which showcased some of the supporting players while at the same time focusing on the shift in power in the marriage of Harry and Rose Selfridge.

The central storyline this week kicked off with the Selfridges attending a private performance given by Anna Pavlova in which Rose is taken aback by the ballet dancer’s elegance and claims that every woman needs to have a Pavlova moment. Keen to impress his wife, who he seemingly love once again, Harry attempts to get Pavlova to perform at his store and shockingly she agrees. While Harry is focusing on what his wife wants his former mistress, the increasingly erratic Ellen Love, is wondering why he hasn’t been around to see her shows and tries to learn of his whereabouts from Frank who attempts to fob her off. Eventually though Ellen learns that Harry has been busy organising the Pavlova event and invites herself to the gathering keen to meet one of her idols but surprisingly she embarrasses herself once again. Harry ends the affair once and for all as he tells Ellen that she can keep her flat and all of his presents as long as she doesn’t bother him any more however one gathers that Ellen won’t go down without a fight. Harry might want to worry less about his mistress and more about his wife who is increasingly taken in by Roddy the painter even though he knows she’s married. Rose even forgoes the Pavlova show at Selfridges to spend the day with Roddy and his friends in a dingy London Arts club populated by Bohemian types who press her on her true identity. As they reveal they’re off to see the Pavlova show, Rose realises she must reveal her true identity to Roddy who is taken aback but I reckon that these two will probably still get it on at some point.

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As well as the Pavlova show, Selfridge also has to make a personnel change after he discovers that Head of Fashion Miss Bunting has been stealing silk from the store and sacks her on the spot. I feel that this was an inevitable occurrence as the brilliant Pippa Haywood has been wasted for weeks and a change-up on the shop floor was definitely on the cards. Taking over the reins in fashion was Miss Ravillous, played by Anna Madely, who makes no friends with the other staff members when she starts stealing items from accessories without consulting with Miss Mardle. Harry though is quite taken with Miss Ravillous as he believes she will change the fashion department in the store and reckons that fashion will be big one day however last week he was all about perfumes yet there was no mention of the Selfridge scent this week. Talking of Miss Mardle we also got to see Amanda Abbington put in a tender performance as the lovelorn Head of Accessories who was lonely in bed without the married Mr Grove to keep her company. Although Grove later left his ill wife to be with his mistress you get the impression that he is playing both sides and ultimately I hope the lovely Miss Mardle sees the light and dumps her lover. Finally we had the continuing adventures of Agnes and she and brother George got one over on their drunken father by changing the locks. While Agnes busied herself helping Leclair on his latest shop window it seemed that her admirer Victor was more worried about George’s involvement in bundling those ‘special deliveries’ into the mysterious vans. Things came to a head when Reg crashed the Pavlova show to confront his daughter only to be thrown out by Selfridge and later punched in the face by Victor however it appears as if Reg will continue to ruin his children’s life for the foreseeable future.

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I have to say that of all of the episodes of Mr Selfridge this one was definitely the most accomplished and for me Andrew Davies and his team have finally got the balance right between Harry’s grandstanding and the dreary lives of some of his staff members. After weeks of dominating the action we saw Harry’s more vulnerable side here as he looked to gain part of his wife’s affections once again though he is unaware of her burgeoning passions for that rugged painter. He also has finally seen sense when it comes to the dreadful Ellen Love, who I still don’t like despite Zoe Tapper’s best efforts, who it seems will continue to cause havoc with the Selfridge marriage as will the foppish Tony who is still reeling over losing all that money to Harry in the poker game. While in the past I’ve sung Aisling Loftus’ praises, and she does shine in this episode once again, for me Amanda Abbington stole the show as the lonleyMiss Mardle and I felt the actress really excelled at portraying a woman who only wanted to be loved but had just picked the wrong man to start a relationship with. I also have to say that I’m not completely sold on Anna Madely yet as her head of fashion is a little abrupt plus the writers really haven’t given us a lot to go on as far as her character is concerned.


Overall I found this episode of Mr Selfridge to be the most satisfying so far as the scenes in the shop, including those featuring Anna Pavlova, were incredibly sumptuous to look at while the writing team finally found a balance between all of the various storylines. The ensemble cast continued to entertain while even Jeremy Piven delivered a restrained performance when he realised Rose may have other interests in her life. I’m just hoping that this momentum can be kept up as we head into the halfway point of the series however for once I’m looking forward to where the series takes me next.

Did you enjoy this episode of Mr Selfridge? What are you thinking of the series so far? Leave Your Comments Below.


  1. Susana B. on January 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Great review! I also think Amanda Abbington was superb in this episode; she had been a bit underused until now, but her scenes in this one were fantastic.

  2. LV on January 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    A typical Andrew Davies Slow burner. I am hooked now. So complex, so skilfully written. I care about the characters and its is only episode four. I just hope it gets the credit it deserves.

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