Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Paradise : first episode review

New BBC drama The Paradise kicks off with gripping first episode 
The UK’s finest period drama stars unite in BBC adaptation of Emile Zola’s The Paradise

The first episode of The Paradise was a period drama Who’s Who with a cast including Sarah Lancashire (Lark Rise To Candleford), David Hayman (Trial And Retribution), and Joanna Vanderham (Dancing on the Edge), as well as newer stars Elaine Cassidy (Harper's Island), Matthew McNulty (The Syndicate, Misfits), and Emun Elliott (Game Of Thrones).

Bill Gallagher’s adaptation sees Emile Zola’s classic French novel relocated to a British department store. Denise Lovett (Vanderham) arrives in the big city, all wide-eyed and angelic, with the aim of working at her Uncle Edmund’s drapers store. However business is bad, mainly due to the new neighbour across the road, the new department store The Paradise. Changing tact, (and albeit quite disloyally!) Denise goes in search of a job at the new store, where her eyes are well and truly opened to opulence, indulgence and luxury. Here she meets authoritarian Ladieswear overseer Miss Audrey (Sarah Lancashire) and The Paradise owner himself, John Moray (Emun Elliot), a dashing Victorian capitalist. Striving to be the object of said retail tycoon's affections is Katherine, the daughter of a rich banker. John needs financial backing and it is uncertain as to whether he is erring on the side of gold digger in regards to his affections towards the banker’s daughter, or whether he is cautious because of his widower status. We will have to wait and see… 

On Denise’s first day we are introduced to the store’s big characters. First up are fellow sales girls giggly Pauline and the spiteful Clara, next Dudley, Moray’s right hand man striving to keep him out of trouble, and finally the creepy Jonas Franks, who the rest of the staff seem quite terrified of. Denise gives her first sale pitch to the haughty Katherine and lo and behold the sexy Victorian capitalist Moray is watching, securing both Denise’s future at the store and what seems to be a bit of a crush on both sides. At the heart of tonight’s episode is the huge store sale that Mr Moray has organised. Dudley is concerned about the economic risks as Moray seems to have bought more than he can sell. We learn that Moray is a real risk taker, as he ends the heated discussion with Dudley by gambling his store: he asserts that if he can’t pay for the stock then the manufacturers can have his store. In a night time visit Clara sneaks to John Moray’s bedroom and it is brought to the viewer’s attention that these two have history. When rebuffed, Clara threatens to tell all and sundry “how his wife really died.” The threat does however remain empty, for this episode at least. The sale day is ultimately a huge success and plays host to a scene in which Moray forthrightly asks Katherine’s father for financial backing and then pretty much in the same sentence delays his and Katherine’s engagement indefinitely. At the end of sale day Moray boldly brings all the days wages into the store and leaves everyone to collect their bonuses in cash. Hurrah! The sexual tension surrounding Moray and the many unanswered questions left viewers wanting next week’s visit to the 1870s department store to come a lot sooner! 

Source: Entertainment Wise

Emun Elliott introduces the dashing Moray
Emun Elliott
explains the appeal of his modern and fashion-forward character, Moray.  
Source: BBC

Joanna Vanderham - From Student to Star

The Paradise sees the BBC once again going back in time, with the period drama aiming to make the most of the launch of Downton Abbey’s third series and capture a Tuesday night audience.

Perhaps the biggest story of all though is the rise of its star, Joanna Vanderham, the 20 year old from Perth who merely a year ago was a drama student in college and is now the face of a major BBC drama.

It all started with her role in Sky’s Martina Cole adaptation The Runaways. Plucked out of only her second year at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Vanderham was thrust into the limelight as joint lead Cathy, caught in a tragic love story with her lifelong companion Eamonn.

For the outside viewer, it was impossible to see that it was her first role on TV, as right out of the gate she was stunning in the role, never showing anything like nerves.

Joanna didn’t show any signs of stopping from there, snaring a role in the BBC’s Young James Herriot drama as the antagonistic love interest Jenny. Jenny was all aloof disdain and high expectations, delivered in smooth style by Vanderham, yet again belying her inexperience.

With a bit part in ITV’s crime drama Above Suspicion to tide her over, it was only a short wait until she was leading a cast list one again in her fledgling career.

Now, playing the earnest and go-getting Denise, Joanna’s set to become a mainstay of BBC One for the next two months as the emotional heart of The Paradise.

The future looks incredibly bright for her too, as she’s secured roles in both the BBC’s massive Stephen Poliakoff drama Dancing On The Edge (alongside such stars as Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jenna-Louise Coleman) and movie What Maisie Knew, which will see her working with Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard.

This could be the start of something very big indeed for the young Scot. Remember the name.

Source: Female First


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