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The Paradise: Bringing the set to life

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Hannah King Hannah King | 13:28 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

BBC One's new eight-part period drama The Paradise is based on the classic French novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola.

Adapted by Bill Gallagher (Lark Rise To Candleford) and set in England's first department store in the 1870s, The Paradise is an intoxicating love story starring Sarah Lancashire, Joanna Vanderham, Elaine Cassidy, Matthew McNulty, David Hayman, Patrick Malahide and Emun Elliott.

As filming moved into its final stages I visited the set at Lambton Castle in County Durham and managed to steal a few moments with some of the team involved in creating the enchanting backdrop to the drama.

Production designer Melanie Allen and assistant art director Rebecca Mason talked to me about how they created the look of the series.

Melanie began our tour by explaining that there are three main types of props: specially made items, antiques bought mainly in auctions or hired and reproductions found in ordinary shops and wholesalers.

Apparently you can usually spot the antiques as they are unique - all varying in shape and colour.

Silver teapot

In contrast, where you have several identical pieces the repetition hints that they're probably reproduction items.

"Replicas give us the opportunity to repeat products and that's what you need in a department store," she explains.

"It's always a mixture," Melanie says, "so here we've got candlesticks that we bought from a supermarket mixed in with antiques on the shelf below."

Antique candlesticks

These glass dispensers came from a department store in America.

"Victoriana is quite large in America," Melanie explains, "so they make reproductions and sell them in the shops.

"The equivalent in department stores here are very plain and simple, so we had to get them imported."

Victorian looking glass dispensers

"When you're doing stuff for TV and film you've got to accept that 90% of what you do, if not more, just blends into the background," says Rebecca.

"You're trying to create things that add to the visual of the set without drawing attention to it.

"Lots of things are there to add the essential layers of detail, shape and colour in the background of the shop."

These wrapped empty boxes are examples of the 'deep background' props Rebecca is talking about - the secret to creating the impression of a fully stocked department store on a budget.

The boxes used on The Paradise set were all made in a box factory in Newcastle. As Melanie says, "It's all about the packaging."

Some of the labels were designed by the art department in period style. Originals from the period were also bought from historic label companies and replicated.

Company names used on the packaging are both real trading names from the period and ones invented by the production team.

Either way all the names need to be cleared for use according to copyright laws.

Copyright clearance can be got round by using clever wording that describes contents rather than a brand such as Finest Parisian Collars or even just Collars Ltd.

"The more expensive fabrics are on the rolls and they are literally wrapped once around foam," Melanie explains.

"Sometimes you have to say - it's going to cost too much, let's not stock that product."

Roll of green fabric

All the materials that appear must of course have been available at the time.

"We're lucky though," Melanie says, "all this stuff was around because the industrial revolution had already happened. That's one of the reasons why department stores evolved.

"You had the middle classes who suddenly had cash and could start spending and things were being reproduced so it was no longer a case of an individual craftsman making goods."

Bowler hat and top hat on stands

Everything in the department store had to look shiny and new but in Lovetts, the outdated rival store across the street, props had to feel like old stock with wear and tear, and had to be aged.

Melanie describes ageing as a real skill.

"Everyone has their own techniques. You take a new item, you spray it with dirty water, coffee or tea and in some cases, such as old boxes of stock, use sandpaper and a hammer to further wear them down."

Battered old silverware on show

Many items were sourced from modern day craftsmen with a brief on how they might have looked in the Victorian era.

"We might have used specialist television people if we'd been in London," says Melanie, "but because we're in County Durham we used a regular baker and a regular florist.

"People really enjoy doing it because it's different to their normal day job!"

They tried varnishing the bread to make it keep but it wasn't a great success.

Basket of breads

Finally, I asked Melanie what her and her team were most proud of.

"Everything's beautiful isn't it?" she says.

"It's the combination of everything together... When you add the repetition of items it stops it feeling like a museum or antiques centre.

"You totally know you're in a shop when you come in and that in itself was the greatest challenge that we've achieved."

Denise (Joanna Vanderham)

More on The Paradise
Watch the trailer.
Read Behind The Scenes In Paradise on the BBC College Of Production blog.

Hannah King is a researcher in BBC TV and iPlayer.

The Paradise begins on Tuesday, 25 September at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


  • Comment number 1.

    Was it just us, or did everyone else have a fault with the Paradise last night? Our BBC 1 site froze 1/2 way through Holby...and that was that!

  • Comment number 2.

    Instead of an article on sets bringing it to life, may I suggest that the actors and script be looked at and similarly treated? Watched episode one last night and it was utterly utterly dire. Script full of cliches, acting wooden, looked as if it was filmed in the back yard at BBC House and the pace funereail. A total turkey.

  • Comment number 3.

    I disagree. I enjoyed it very much, and today at work (Hospital based) many are saying how much they enjoyed it also! This show had wonderful costumes, the actors settled quickly into their roles. It's not dark, not deep, but then it's not meant to be. I enjoyed the first episode, as did my pals, and we are all looking forward to the next episode. Roll on next Tuesday night...

  • Comment number 4.

    Quite agree with emasl. What a shame the same effort with the props wasn't put into the dialogue or acting. Totally unconvincing; laughable almost.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was looking forward to seeing the latest BBC costume drama which the BBC have always done very well. However this latest effort was abysmal. The acting was appalling and the story line was a complete copy from Downton Abbey. I shall reluctantly watch the next episode but if things don't improve I shall not waste my time in future!!

  • Comment number 6.

    "It's not dark, not deep, but then it's not meant to be"

    But this was based on a book by Zola which I read a couple of years ago. It was simply marvellous, great imagery and characterisation, set in Paris and based on the rise of the store Bonne Marche. OK it is 'loosely' based on the Zola but even that is too much emphasis on the connection which is practically nil. Radio Times called it Lark Rise with Shopping and that is it precisely. My heart sank when I read that but I determined to watch it and not rush to judgement too quickly. I stand by my above comment, it was DIRE and I will not be watching any more.

  • Comment number 7.

    Usually the BBC delivers especially with period dramas but i was disappointed with the Paradise. The set was too small, there was no depth to the characters, they were not realistic. It feels like its been churned out quickly due to the success of Downton Abbey. I will watch episode 2, and hope it improves.

  • Comment number 8.

    Having just watched this programme via catch up tv, I must say I was not impressed, it was all a bit cliche for me and some of the acting was over the top, I was not to taken with Moray he appeared to be of Spanish descent was this intentional ? such a shame, hope it improves, I will watch it tonight, fingers crossed.

  • Comment number 9.

    I was looking forward to this programme, but unfortunately it is dire. It seems to me to be directed and acted very like the awful new Upstairs Downstairs, which will hopefully never come back The music is on far too much during dialogue, becoming distracting and irritating. Actors are trying to do posh accents that sound ridiculous - very like the butler in the new Upstairs Downstairs. Again that becomes distracting. The characters have little depth and the acting is forced, partially because of the forced accents and the poorly written script. I ploughed through nearly 2 episodes, but I have given up - I can't take anymore, life is too short. What a terrible shame that the BBC, who has given us wonderful costume dramas before, should have come up with such dribble. I suspect the actors are capable of much better as I have seen some of them in some very good productions before. Compare Pride and Prejudice, that wonderful production in the 1990s to this - BBC, you need to sort this out. It's our licence fee that is paying for this - you need to do better. At the very least, please - I beg you - stop putting so much music over the dialogue - it really is infuriating.

  • Comment number 10.

    I haven't read the novel and so approached this with a completely open mind. I for one, have enjoyed both episodes immensely. The harsh critics just seem to lack a little imagination and are simply unable to enjoy the production for what it is- a midweek costume drama with no other pretensions. The setting and costumes work well and simple concentration on the production for the hour will reveal quite a pleasant experience

  • Comment number 11.

    I watched "The Paradise" for the first time last night and I was immediately struck by the lavishness of the production. The sets are quite stunning and I can’t remember seeing better lighting on any BBC production. On my 42” screen the quality looked far better than many High definition productions I have seen in recent Months. My compliments to the Set designer, D.O.P. and Crew.

  • Comment number 12.

    Love the program. Quite good for a mid week drama. My only critique is could the BBC not move it Wednesday, as there is absolutely nothing meaningful to watch on Wednesday nights. Its sure better that watching the cast of Watchdogs Whom have been found to be as guilty as the people on their program (It should be a 5pm show with a repeat on BBC4 @ such timing as 10.25pm)

  • Comment number 13.

    Mmm - Hardleft ...'the harsh critics seem to just lack imagination'. No, actually I have a lot of imagination, but I simply found it a very poor production - ie it did not entertain me and most of all, it was badly acted and pretentious - in my opinion. And why oh why do the BBC want to put music over so much dialogue (they are even doing it in the programme Watchdog, on which it is seriously annoying). The worst actor was the lead male actor - wooden, probably due to the stilted script. I didn't care about the characters. Downton is wonderful and relaxing to watch - I don't have to try and like it, I just do.

    'Lighting and set fantastic' - sorry, but in my opinion it is claustrophobic. If I didn't know better I would think that the comment at 13.44 by ThamesTV is by a BBC employee who works on the set and understands technical terms, but of course it isn't. I respect their view, but I certainly don't agree.

    Anyway, the comments about how bad the programme is will reduce or stop, because people like me will not be watching it any more! I am going to go out and be entertained at the cinema by a seriously sexy man - 007 in the new James Bond film. Daniel Craig - now there's a man to ogle!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    I absolutely LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeee the offical music for The Pardise drama. It is divine. I would love to purchase it. Can anyone help please

  • Comment number 15.

    Just watched the 3rd episode and found it absolutely stunning
    Beautifully shot and edited. Set design that looks like it cost millions
    Story line that kept tugging at your heart with characters that keep growing
    Just brilliant. The BBC may have its problems but when it comes to drama they are repeatedly hitting the nail on the head

  • Comment number 16.

    when watching a costume drama, i am not really looking for brilliant script, or content, or whatever, they are suppose to be light and entertaining, and BBC usually does a good job.

    the set is quite adequately busy, with a bit over-the-top details gushing everywhere, but then that was accurate too. However, i do feel that the costumes should be better than what i saw. It is really baffling why, of all characters, Miss Glendenning has to wear such bad costumes. other characters do not stand out as much but she is suppose to be rich and sophisticated. last night (9th Oct) i watched in horror some of the worst outfits i have ever seen in BBC production. the colours are more like 1960 Hollywood make-do replicas, the green and yellow outfit with that flower bag was like a bar girl in a bad western film. when sitting in the garden pouring her heart out to Peter Adler, the dangling "crystals" are so plastic, her necklace is just a lengh of lace with some plastic pearls sewn on. All these dresses are suppose to be hand made and far superior to ready-made garments, well they really do not stand much scrutiny. she is singularly the worse dressed female character, and we are always looking at her! There may be a lot of work in them, they are just tastelessly done. This affects her character, since she did say that she sits and thinks about dresses and they are "exquisite", and we are to think that on top of being of excellent taste, there is something else in her head, so bad outfits on her just menas that she really isn't much of a brilliant intellect of any substance. there is also a lot of fabrics (in set and in costume) that is recognisable from Chinese emporiums which are still being sold in Soho today, please look a bit further afield, these fabrics are modern, and they shout out loud from the production!
    May be i am too harsh, but PLEASE, some of that normal BBC elegance we are used to would be good.

  • Comment number 17.

    The sets are really very good! As a descendant of the owner of one of Britain's first department stores (Jolly's of Bath, est 1826, but became truly a department store in the 1830s, and retains many of its original architectural features to this day) I can see some of the influences, the peacock window for example. That looks like it was based on Jolly's trademark peacock motif. OK, we spotted some clearly polyester ribbon in the photos, but the sets are well done, the illusion holds.

    The gent's costumes are also very good. I'm a historical costumer and one of the things we DO is gents tailoring. They wander about a bit in period, and the ubiquitous anachronistic chinese brocade (clearly poly or rayon) appears once or twice, but those are nitpicks.

    Yes, the lighting is great. Which is a shame, because it picks up every detail of the ghastly costumes of the female leads.

    Don't get me wrong. The actual frocks are well done. They wander around a bit over the decade pre and post the date the film is set in, they will insist on wearing dinner dresses in the afternoon, and showing way too much cleavage, the actresses don't wear nearly enough underwear, so you can see the outlines of the corsets and even the boning under the frock, and the fabrics and construction are a bit flimsy, but all this should not spoil the average viewers pleasure. The cut is mostly OK, though the fit leaves something to be desired in some cases. This is probably a Clue!

    But then someone has "embellished" them.

    The embellishments usually clash horribly with the original frock, both in colour and in style. Cheap poly satin ribbon has been used, and made in china pre formed trim. The upholstery trims used are way too heavy, and Miss Glendennings friend wears a jacket trimmed with what are clearly curtain tie backs. And as for that horrible scarlet satin thing covered in pre-made bows that has been flung at the chest of quite a pretty gown in autumn colours, what were they thinking? See looks like she's been stabbed!

    And the crystals? Don't get me started. I suspect they began their life on a cheap plastic chandelier, and there they should have stayed.

    None of the wonderful origami of lovely self fabric trim which distinguishes this period. Just ghastly garish modern polyester. This is also a Clue.

    It looks to me as if what has happened is that the Beeb have raided the wardrobe department for "Victorian Stuff", then asked someone to bling them up a bit to make them look different from the gowns in the original productions. Unfortunately the person they asked seems to have been the apprentice. A colour-blind apprentice with a loyalty card for a shop selling cheap haberdashery and upholstery braid. With a budget of around a tenner per costume.

    I'm watching, for the story, and because it helps me imagine my ancestors in their elegant Bath Emporium.

    But honestly Aunty Beeb Could do better!

    PS I am available at very reasonable rates for future productions......

  • Comment number 18.


    GreatestEmpress #14, to answer your question about the music used for The Paradise; it is an original score composed by Maurizio Malagnini.


    BBC TV blog

  • Comment number 19.

    Brilliant show. The highlight of my weeks viewing. Thank you.

  • Comment number 20.

    What can I say except that for the first time some of my students begged me to study Zola's book in French class...!

  • Comment number 21.

    Good grief, what a nit picky lot you critics all are, and how you love to air your self inflated views, who in the world cares what you think. Each to their own.... if you don't like it, then don't watch it, there is no need to be disparaging about something people have worked hard to produce. Period dramas cost a great deal of money to produce and probably take a great deal of ingenuity and imagination to create, though obviously you could all do it a darn sight better no doubt blindfolded and with one arm behind your back too....if you can't find something to praise refrain from making comment.

  • Comment number 22.

    I love Paradise if my evening with joy.

  • Comment number 23.

    I would like to ask Rebecca and Melanie how to create the look of the paradise in a wedding hall. Do you you have any tips for doing it on the cheap? I'm really keen for the room to look full of interesting things. I am absolutely taken in by the beauty of the set, you both are fabulous at what you do, best wishes

  • Comment number 24.

    I am enjoying this programe but I agree with some other comments made re the costumes worn by the Miss Glendining character, they look a little cheap and the ribbons and bows are quite childish looking . Without wishing to be personal , I also feel that some of the actors are not quite what I would hope for in the looks department. Two of the shop assistants are quite wrong for me. Mr Moray is gorgeous as is his side kick, and Denise is very lovely, which is not to say that all actors need to be great looking , but I think costume dramas require a certain type of actor or they tend to get lost among the costumes and scenery and become a bit comical . It works in a Dickens story and even for Jane Austens eccentric vicars and dowager aunts, but not so well here as I want everything in Paradise to be pretty ! Shallow , maybe.. All in all though it's a good story and very watchable. For those who criticise this show please consider the the much trumpeted Downton Abbey is Very badly acted in parts ...the First World War , as featured in the last series was more like Dads Army ! I'm looking forward to the next 4 episodes very much. By the way, the directors name last night ( 15/10 ) was Sue Tully - does anyone know if it's the same Susan Tully , ex Eastenders actress ???

  • Comment number 25.

    I am enjoying the 'story' of The Paradise, But in the 1870s-80's Did men wear 5o'clock shadows or stubble? (sexy in the 1980's-2010's). Also 'nice' women Never walked the streets without Gloves and Bareheaded.
    The outside set looks like it's around the corner from 'Ello Ello'. It could all turn into a very good comedy. a prequile to 'Are you being served?'
    Sarah Lancashire is No Mrs Slocombe, I keep expecting her to shout 'Oh Curly!'

  • Comment number 26.

    Great episode tonight .... Dont envy the cleaners at that 5 star hotel tho ! All those bodies to clear away not to mention the ones in the grounds and the maze ! Seriously tho the story is developing nicely - its exciting stuff, looking forward to the outcome, but strangely I don't want a happy ending for this bunch.

  • Comment number 27.

    Oops sorry the above blog is for Hunter not Paradise !

  • Comment number 28.

    I absolutely love this series. BBC never disappoints with period dramas. The sets are beautiful, the music is divine and the acting is great. I hope we will see a second series.

  • Comment number 29.

    I've never posted a comment on any site before but feel compelled to do so by the moaning comments above. Sadly it's usually the terminally dissatisfied who take the time to whinge like this. I've just watched the first three episodes of The Paradise back to back and I absolutely love it. I think the acting is excellent, the adaptation is well done and the sets and costumes great. We need more television like this to combat the onslaught of trivial, worthless and cheap programmes which fill most of the schedules. Well done the BBC!

  • Comment number 30.

    I have been visiting from New York for over two months now and stumbled upon Paradise. I appreciate many of the comments above about the dialogue, plot, costumes and so on. That said, Paradise is a welcome relief to all the reality trash and competition shows that are shown in the US these days. Period dramas always appeal and the story line is good enough to hold our interest from week to week. I am going to miss the last few episodes unless I can find them on the internet. Sometimes UK sites are blocked in the US. I can only hope it will be shown on PBS at some point in the near future. While I might only be a "pesky" American, I think this might have a chance at an award or two.

  • Comment number 31.

    Each episode develops layers of the story further....well done BBC, am loving the programme .... congrats to a second series!

  • Comment number 32.

    I am so disappointed with this programme... the book is so good and this is a pale reflection...Zola re written by Catherine Cookson

  • Comment number 33.

    I have never ever felt the need to make a comment om anything I have seen on TV but feel I must express my joy at this series of The Paradise, all of my family love it also, the acting is wonderful, the costumes, the whole series so far has been fantastic, I do not understand how people can be so critical of such a wonderful series.

  • Comment number 34.

    Love the series, the music, the characters, etc. I think it's all very well done. Only thing that annoys me greatly is the manner in which John Moray talks; totally off-putting! Pity: he's attractive guy.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am throughly enjoying the Paradise. I feel the costumes, set, and general air about the Paradise totally enthralling . Very much a must see programme. WELL DONE to all involved.

  • Comment number 36.

    I feel the paradise has been a slow burner. I enjoyed it from the start, although it's taken a while for me to get used to the lighthearted, slightly melodramatic acting. Now after episode 6 I am really looking forward to the next episode and am hooked. Can't wait. So glad there's another series planned. I just hope they don't go too far down the path of a relationship being on/off between Moray and Denise as this will get tedious.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am thoroughly enjoying The Paradise - currently my TV highlight of the weekend.

  • Comment number 38.

    I LOVE this series. I think people are just finding too much to complain about. The costumes are fantastic... the acting is wonderful. The exterior set is a little cardboard-esq, but the interior of the Paradise is really wonderful. I hope this comes out on DVD!

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm loving The Paradise and the chemistry between Mr Moray and Denise, i hope their relationship becomes happy ever after. I can't believe we are coming to the end already and really hope they make a second series. Good, easy to watch tv, well done BBC.

  • Comment number 40.

    Good evening!!!
    First of all, sorry about my English since I am not a mother tongue speaker. I have been watching all the chapters of the Paradise, and I have to say that I have been through different opinons from the first chapter to the sixth. I do really like the serie, and I must say that I have watched each chapter twice. That's because I need to improve my English, and also because I am really fond of it. But If I may (as Jonace say) I agree with some opinions who dislike some bits of it. In the first chapter I was caught by most characters, but I found others over acted what really surprised me, since I had never seen an English serie where you could find such a disagreement in the acting. Nevertheless, I do not think it has to do with actor's but with directing. I believe that English actors are brilliant (I have to say that I am an actress and very "jelous" about them). I do really like characters as Pauline. She is a pretty brilliant actress. Denise is perfect with her good and sweet looking, and her acting is very good, as well as Clara. There's something about Mss Glenndening that doesn't match. Her acting is pretty good, but there is somthing disturbing. I red in the above comments about her poorly customs, and I think it is quite true. For example, She is not as well dressed as her closed friend who appears in the second chapter (that abandoned, selfish woman who put in risk Sam's reputation) or even as the rest of her friends who are suppossed to come from the same lineage, or who are even under her lineage, or better say, not as rich as her.
    There's some lack of character in her, that's my opinion. She should be stronger or cleverest, so as to put in contradiction Denise "essence". But since the first chapter the beautiful and clever Denise reveals she will be in first term in some way or another, and Mr Moray's looks at her should be more disguised, as.. I am defenetly sure, at that time were not so evident.
    Mr Moray, (somebody refered about his Spanish looking, well..., I am Spanish and I would love to meet Spanish men like him!!!!! Though I understand the joke) SO HANDSOME!!!!! I have never seen Emund in any other characterization, though I don't blame him but the director. It is too much evident. There is nothing subtle in him. I can't believe the way he can relay on anyone to talk about his feelings as he does at any time and at any place at work (like in any store department to Mr Dudley, in some way understandable as He is a close friend. Clara in his office, and to Denise in the sixth chapter, making her so confident so as to let her feelings about him appear so openly) Could it really happen at that time? A woman expressing her feelings to her boss in such a way?
    The chapter about Mr Borroughs. It came suddenly. We know Mr Edmund Lovett, is dissapointed about Mr Moray, but why Mr. Borroughs was not mentioned before? When I watched this chapter I felt I have lost something in the story. It would be grateful to have some details about him in the previous chapters.

    And ......characters that I found at the beginning quite plain as Mr Jonace and Mrs Audrey, too plain, have already changed into different moods which is quite nice. They are really very good actors.

    But, appart from those details, I am looking forward to watching the next episode which I will review for sure.

    Thanks BBC for doing good things and not the crap, that I don't watch, but I know is in most channels. I won't forget series which were broadcast in Spain like I,CLAUDIUS, which I would love to watch (as I was a little girl when it was in Spain) THE RUPPERTS, ROBBIN'S NEST,(is that a Thames production?) UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS (the old one), ELIZABETH R, EDWARD THE VIII, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, AND A FEW MORE I CAN'T REMEBER.

  • Comment number 41.

    Is that it?.....why is The Paradise not on tonight? Is that all there is to the first series just 6 episodes....come on BBC try to redeem yourself a little by at least making sure popular well made shows like this actually run for a decent length of time. So tired of all these reality shows with singing and dancing and celebrity nonsense...we want drama, well made, well acted and more more more....please! :)

  • Comment number 42.

    can't get enough of this great show well done on a second series, i only started waching as it is set on my doorstep i can see it out my upstairs window but i dont even think about the location now i am well hooked was from episode one more more more please lol

  • Comment number 43.

    I think THE PARADISE is the best period drama I have seen for years. I absolutely love it, the characters are brilliant as are the costumes, props and everything else. Why on earth is it shown on a Tuesday, it should be prime time viewing Saturday or Sunday evening. How soon will the DVD come out, I want to buy it for my mum and and is there going to be another series.

  • Comment number 44.

    The Paradise , well done BBC . Instead of wasting Licence Payers money on a load of trash & over paying so called BBC stars , which I find ludicrous . The Paradise is something the BBC has done very well with . I absolutely love it , the set is utterly brilliant , the acting is the same . I am pleased the BBC used our beautiful Durham . They will be some people , who can't be pleased , stating their views , which I have view, They must not have been watching the same programme I was watching. I say bring on a second series .

  • Comment number 45.

    Not sure what Jill was on about stating that the Paradise wasn't on last night - it was .... Anyway it's warming up nicely. Miss Glendennings clothes are still very odd looking, boarding on ghastly. Denise's uncle strangely wears his waistcoat buttoned up wrong and Denise (often refered to as "Den eece " ) never shows any real emotion on her lovely face. Miss Audrey is brilliantly funny, sad and warm. Further to an earlier comment re the show having a touch of the Catherine Cookson's about it, I agree but it's a winning rags to riches formula, the like of which has been lacking on TV of late. Can the next series please be aired on Sundays - it's a perfect Sunday early evening treat - such a relief from dancing and singing competitions. Personally I love Mr Moray's endearing lisp and Spanish looks. A lovely programe , looking forward to more, thanks to all involved.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hi tjdonofrio1 #38 and Gnetta #43 – The Paradise will be available to buy on DVD from 10 December 2012. There will be further information about where you can purchase the series on The Paradise programme page from that date.


    Eliza Kessler
    BBC TV blog

  • Comment number 47.

    Overall IMHO - an enjoyable hour, not intended to be anything more than a "period type drama", surely - some of the comments about the accuracy of the clothes etc do seem to be unnecessary, although I can agree to a degree - I am still waiting to see a Victorian matriach sweep in to The Paradise clothed entirely in black (for mourning), I haven't seen any footmen running around after their mistresses, & everyone has such perfect teeth!
    I do think, though, that there could have been perhaps a "known name" actress in the shop - a Helen Mirren/Maggie Smith or whoever (who was available & cheap enough for the budget!) - Miss Audrey is doing a cracking job, with her little flips of the head & fluttering of the eyes, but I just feel we are missing out on a "star name" to really pull in the punters. Maybe for Series II, BBC?
    I do have 1 major gripe, though.
    I just can't swallow the overall premise of a "shop girl" having such an individualistic streak - this was in the days before Emily Pankhurst, education was pretty basic for the likes of her "class" - so the thoughts of her organizing a "Co-operative" in the street etc are, to me, just too far fetched - or are they from the original book?
    If not, then the modern day writers have just gone too far "over the top".
    Having said all that, I accept it for what it is - "period floss" - and will be looking out for both the second series & the original book, so the BBC have achieved probably what it set out to do - to entertain & educate!

  • Comment number 48.

    Watched the latest episode I was surprised that the designers who according to this have gone to such expense in creating authenticity, created dresses with fluorescent pink and blue trimmings. I find it difficult to believe that these dyes were available in Victorian times.


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