Sarah Lancashire (opens in new tab) will star in a new BBC department store drama expected to rival ITV series Mr Selfridge. The 47-year-old, who played Coronation Street favourite Raquel Watts, will star in BBC1's The Paradise, a love story set in the 1890s around the opening of the first department store in the North East, reports the Mirror. The show could apparently be screening early next year on Sunday nights, as will Mr Selfridge, which stars another ex-Corrie star, Katherine Kelly. The Paradise, based on the Emile Zola novel Au Bonheur Des Dames, is described as an eight-part, rags-to-riches tale. It will also star newcomer Joanna Vanderham, Trial And Retribution's David Hayman and Fingersmith's Elaine Cassidy. Sarah will play Miss Audrey, a firm-but-fair character who oversees ladieswear. In Mr Selfridge, Entourage actor Jeremy Piven will play Harry Gordon Selfridge, the flamboyant and visionary US entrepreneur known as the Earl of Oxford Street. Katherine, who starred as Becky McDonald in Coronation Street until earlier this year, has been cast as the alluring socialite Lady Mae.
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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