Mr Selfridge (Series 2)

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Episode 1  In the years since the opening of his store, Harry Selfridge and wife Rose have become increasingly estranged, so he’s thrilled when she travels from America to celebrate Selfridges’ fifth anniversary. However, it’s clear there’s still a rift between them and she’s more interested in an exciting new friendship with a novelist. Meanwhile, Lady Mae is thrown by her husband’s unexpected arrival in London, and after hearing him blackmail his way onto a government military committee, she knows he’s up to something – especially with all the rumours of an impending war.

Episode 2  Trade unionists arrive at Selfridges to demand more rights for workers, and the protest stirs up emotions among the staff, with some asking whether Harry will return to America if war breaks out, and what this will mean for their jobs. Wanting to reassure everyone he isn’t going anywhere, the store owner organises a tango party to thank his employees for all their efforts. Meanwhile, Lord Loxley thwarts Lady Mae’s plans to escape to the country without him, and Rose tracks down Henri, finding him living in squalor.

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Episode 3 Agnes works through the night to get the empire exhibition ready, but by morning it becomes clear to Harry she is struggling to cope with the project. Loxley pays Mr Selfridge a visit to tell him he can get Winston Churchill himself to open the event, while Lady Mae discovers the dire state of her husband’s finances during a trip to the bank. Mr Grove is handed his final warning when he turns up to work late again, Henri receives a job offer and Rose finds Gordon’s collection of racy photos.

Episode 4 With news of the first horrors of war in Belgium, the men of Selfridges clamour to sign up, while Rose, Delphine and Lady Mae organise a special chocolate sale to aid refugees – which goes down a treat in the store and proves inspirational for Miss Mardle. Thackeray suspects Henri is up to no good, Victor faces a family crisis and Loxley gets his shady money-making plans off the ground.

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Episode 5 With so many of the men signing up for duty, the women are now working in the loading bay and struggling to adjust, while Harry yearns to do more for the war effort, so Delphine introduces him to several senior government figures who could help. Crabb organises rifle training for the staff, Thackeray’s anxieties about Henri reach a new level and Miss Mardle entertains a surprising house guest. Lord Loxley suddenly seems to be in the money, much to Lady Mae’s concern.

Episode 6 With German goods being taken off the store’s shelves, Harry organises a patriotic concert to raise money for British troops, and Lady Mae arranges for an old friend (played by tenor Alfie Boe) to headline the event. However, Mr Selfridge has also offered to help the government, and just as the gig is about to begin, he’s ordered to leave London on a secret mission to Berlin. Elsewhere, Agnes and Victor find themselves going over old territory and an increasingly paranoid Thackeray takes action against Henri.

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Episode 7 Following Henri’s arrest and Harry’s disappearance, everyone is in a state of confusion and the police arrive at the Selfridges’ home in search of clues. However, when Rose discovers her husband is away on secret government business, she’s more worried for his safety than ever before. Meanwhile, Agnes receives an ominous telegram, Lady Mae has to make a tough decision, and will Loxley get his comeuppance?

Episode 8 Harry deals with a raft of problems on his return from his secret government assignment – not least the news of Henri’s arrest. Coming to his employee’s aid, Mr Selfridge pulls a few strings and calls in a favour to get him out of custody. Meanwhile, the beleaguered staff receive a much-needed morale boost when Delphine arrives at the store accompanied by Hollywood producers and actresses, and Lady Mae decides it’s high time she cut her ties with Loxley.

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Episode 9 Having endured a scandal in the press and dealt with Henri’s arrest, Harry is determined to get the store back on track and asks Delphine to organise a special event, but takes a risk by inviting notorious American journalist Winifred Bonfils Black. Meanwhile, as Miss Mardle experiences true happiness, Agnes doubts she has made the right choice, and Lady Mae and Frank unite to help Mr Selfridge, but could there be more trouble on the horizon?

Episode 10 Harry is desperate to clear his name in time for Thanksgiving, but things get worse instead of better for the retail magnate when Rose brings him bad news. Meanwhile, an `amicably rowdy’ dinner takes place at the Selfridge house with all the family and new houseguest Lady Mae, and there is a promise of exciting new horizons for Victor, Agnes and Henri.

Drama starring Jeremy Piven, Frances O’Connor, Katherine Kelly, Aisling Loftus, Gregory Fitoussi, Trystan Gravelle, Amanda Abbington, Polly Walker, Aidan McArdle, Cal MacAninch, Ron Cook, Tom Goodman-Hill, Amy Beth Hayes, Samuel West, Greg Austin, Calum Callaghan, Sadie Shimmin and Oliver Farnworth.

As I said when I reviewed the second series of The Paradise I love this period drama. Jeremy Piven and all the cast are excellent. Agnes and Henri are my favourite couple and I’m looking forward to watching what will happen to them in the next series hoping they will escape from the tragedy of  WWI …

Scott & Bailey – Series 3 (2013)

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Episode 1 Called to the home of an elderly couple who haven’t been seen for a while, Janet discovers Eunice Bevan’s severed head at the bottom of the stairs, her body at the top, and her husband Joe in bed, emaciated and barely able to speak. Meanwhile, the detective puts her house on the market, admitting her relationship with Adrian is over, and three months in to Rachel’s marriage to traffic cop Sean, she’s starting to feel a little claustrophobic.

Episode 2 In a retrospective episode set immediately after the events of series two, Rachel faces further accusations of masterminding the fatal attack on ex-lover Nick and finds comfort in the arms of ever-faithful Sean, agreeing to marry him. Amid the wedding celebrations, Janet and Ade admit defeat and decide to split up for good, while Gill is duty bound to take action when she catches Pete in a compromising position. The detectives also investigate the case of a businessman suspected of murdering a homeless man.

Episode 3 The detectives investigate the murder of a wealthy man whose double life left him vulnerable to exploitation. Away from work, Rachel’s recent moment of indiscretion threatens to come back to haunt her when a confused Sean takes a phone call from her one-night stand, and after Ade is pushed into living with his girlfriend on a permanent basis, Janet asks her mother to move in.

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Episode 4 Troubled saleswoman Helen (Nicola Walker), whose mother was murdered back in episode one, turns up on Janet’s doorstep with information that takes the investigation in a completely different direction – paving the way for the formidable Det Supt Julie Dodson to be called in. Meanwhile, new recruit Sgt Rob Waddington arrives on the scene – putting Janet’s nose out of joint as she is demoted back down to constable.

Episode 5 Having realised her marriage is a mistake, Rachel is still staying at Janet’s and making excuses for her absence, but Sean isn’t prepared to accept that things have gone so wrong, so quickly. Meanwhile, the investigation into Joe Bevan continues as the body count rises and the team faces the mammoth task of identifying the victims and determining the order in which they were murdered.

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Episode 6 Dorothy becomes concerned her grand-daughter Taisie is being influenced by Rachel, while Janet is mortified when Gill berates her for inappropriate behaviour toward young sergeant Rob. The detective duo are sent to investigate the death of a man in a nursing home after his daughter complains about the level of care he had been receiving. Will they find any evidence of foul play?

Episode 7 Rachel is shocked when Janet walks in on her and Kevin in the bedroom, and is forced to acknowledge that her chaotic life is affecting her work. Meanwhile, Syndicate 9 are left reeling at the identity of the mole in the team, and when a body is found in Oldham town centre, the detective duo discover that a spate of street robberies may lead them to the killer.

Episode 8 With their friendship in tatters, the lack of communication between Rachel and Janet is making even the simplest of tasks difficult, and it takes a call about Gill’s possible abduction to reunite them as a team. The duo soon have Gill’s car in their sights and identify the kidnapper, but discover they are heading for a notorious suicide location. Can the detectives get to their boss in time?

Detective drama, starring Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Amelia Bullmore, David Prosho, Tony Mooney, Delroy Brown, Ben Batt, Judith Barker, Sean Maguire, Nicola Walker, George Costigan, Danny Miller and Pippa Haywood.

This series is as the first two, excellent with a gripping storyline. As usual Nicola Walker is brilliant, I love what she does since I first watch her in Spooks.

Scott & Bailey – Series 2 (2012)

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Episode 1 The badly burned body of a disabled man turns up in a remote part of Manchester and a few days later another corpse is discovered. The detectives start to realise the victims were not just murdered, but tortured too. They make an arrest, but it becomes clear their investigation has just scratched the surface. Meanwhile, Janet throws her husband out and Rachel’s estranged brother turns up on her doorstep.

Episode 2 Despite arresting four people, the detectives face a wall of silence in their investigation into the grisly murders – but they eventually make a breakthrough, which doesn’t quite give them the answers they were expecting. On the domestic front, Rachel wakes up in bed with charismatic colleague Sean – a mistake she is keen never to repeat – and Janet wants to keep her newly single status a secret.

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Episode 3 It’s Murray and Bailey this week, as Rachel travels to Bristol with the DCI, who is advising on a rape and murder case that bears similarities to one she worked on 13 years previously involving the deaths of four women. Back at home, meanwhile, the detective discovers her brother Dom has been prostituting himself in her flat – and also learns the charges against her ex-boyfriend Nick are being dropped.

Episode 4 The duo look into the murder of an eight-year-old boy, coming up against a paedophile who cruelly deceives his victim’s family. Dom’s HIV test comes back negative, so he sets out to celebrate – only to endanger his own life and jeopardise Rachel’s sergeant’s exam in the process. Janet tells Andy she is having second thoughts about their brief liaison, but he finds her decision hard to accept.

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Episode 5 Janet comes face to face with the man who left her fighting for life just months earlier – serial killer Geoff Hastings, who has vowed to finally reveal the full extent of his crimes. Rachel and the rest of the team investigate the racially motivated murder of a taxi driver. On the personal front, Andy refuses to take no for an answer, so Janet threatens to report him to the DCI.

Episode 6 Rachel meets Sean’s son, who turns out to be an eight-year-old version of his dad, and the idea of becoming a stepmum puts her further off the idea of marriage than she was before – not that she even agreed in the first place. Andy asks Janet out for a drink, but when she turns him down he accuses her of leading him on. A woman in a sexy cop’s uniform turns up dead, and the DCI assumes the killer was her lover – the question is, which one of her many lovers was it? And to add to the mystery, why was her face painted green?

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Episode 7 A gangland killing takes a surprising twist when it turns out the victim has been sexually mutilated. Andy punishes Janet by keeping her out of the heart of the investigation, and when she rebels, the ensuing row becomes personal. Rachel feels ambushed by Sean, who announces his mother wants to meet her – especially as she has spent years trying not to think about her own mum.

Episode 8 Rachel discovers Nick has been brutally assaulted – and she is top of the list of suspects. But even worse, she has no recollection of the previous night after a drunken hen party, and struggles to convince herself she did not do it. Janet thinks she has made her peace with Andy, until he gives her some misinformation that results in Gill missing an appointment with the coroner – so the DCI, tired of their games, announces one of them will have to go. A man’s accidental death turns into a murder investigation when his daughters reveal their mother often talked of killing him.

Detective drama, starring Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Amelia Bullmore, Nicholas Gleaves, Ben Batt, Liam Boyle, Pippa Haywood, Sean Maguire, Judith Barker, Tony Pitts, Kevin Doyle, Sally Lindsay and Vincent Regan.

This series is as good as the first one.

Scott & Bailey – Series 1 (2011)

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Episode 1 This drama is following the personal and professional lives of two detectives working for a Manchester police unit that specialises in murder cases. DC Janet Scott and DC Rachel Bailey investigate the case of a pregnant woman who was killed in her bedroom. Meanwhile, Rachel’s love life takes a turn for the worse and Janet gets a call that reawakens a past tragedy.

Episode 2 Janet reopens the investigation into the murder of childhood friend Veronica, Rachel receives news that makes her personal life even more complicated, and a teenage murderer is successfully charged, but horrific events start to unravel following his arrest.

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Episode 3 Rachel discovers her ex-partner is the defending barrister for Georgios Stelikos, a man on trial for rape and murder, and she is horrified when the accused escapes conviction. When Stelikos is later found dead, the prime suspect is Hannah Conway, who made public death threats against him after giving evidence for the prosecution in court. Meanwhile, Janet tries to support her colleague following devastating news.

Episode 4 Three weeks after reporting her husband missing, adult-film star Vicky Birkinshaw is arrested on suspicion of his murder. Rachel faces the task of going through the suspect’s home-made pornography collection in search of clues, but the case takes a dark twist when Vicky’s daughter turns up with her much older boyfriend. Meanwhile, Janet’s affair with a colleague is exposed.

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Episode 5 Janet moves a step closer to tracking down Veronica’s killer while investigating a recent murder that bears similarities to the cold case. Rachel finds out about an affair Nick once had with a juror in the middle of a trial – a revelation that could end his career.

Episode 6 Rachel has a lucky escape while walking home when she narrowly avoids being hit by a car. Shaken, she starts pursuing the driver, who has fled on foot, and the next day she suspects the incident was an attempted murder – and that Nick may be involved. As she tries to deal with the revelation, Janet is left to take charge of the latest case – the gang shooting of a teenager whose friend is a key witness.

Detective drama, starring Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Rupert Graves, Amelia Bullmore, Nicholas Gleaves, Ben Batt, Tony Pitts, Kevin Doyle, Sally Lindsay and Vincent Regan.

Well, I’ll just say one thing, I began watching the first episode on last thursday and today I’m at the middle of the last series. Sally Wainwright succeeded in creating main and second characters with an interesting storyline, and gripping murder cases.

The Politician’s Husband (2013)

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Part 1 : Aiden Hoynes and Freya Gardner are the “golden couple of British politics” as the drama opens. But Aiden is about to torpedo his career with one rash move. He resigns from the Cabinet after his bid for leadership is thwarted by his best friend Bruce Babbish. In the reshuffle, Freya is appointed a minister, while he returns to the back benches and a life of political obscurity. Finally out of her husband’s shadow, Freya is forced to choose between her own career ambitions and publicly supporting her spouse.

Part 2 : After his fall from grace, Aiden is spending more time at home looking after the children and becomes increasingly consumed with jealousy and paranoia as he sits on the sidelines watching Freya’s rise to prominence. Unable to accept his wife’s new-found success or forgive her betrayal, he begins to plot her downfall as well as his old friend Bruce’s.

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Part 3 : Aiden has to defend himself when a sex scandal threatens to derail any chance of a political comeback, as well as doing further damage to his marriage. He discovers Freya has been less than honest about her whereabouts and the time she is spending with Bruce, and decides to gamble everything to ensure he comes out on top.

Political drama, starring David Tennant, Emily Watson, Jack Shepherd, Roger Allam, Ed Stoppard, Anamaria Marinca, Oscar Kennedy and Lucy Hutchinson.

This three part drama is Paula Milne’s companion piece to her 1995 drama The Politician’s Wife, starring Juliet Stevenson, Trevor Eve and Minnie Driver. David Tennant is as usual excellent in this part of jealous and revanchist husband who can’t stand to be left in the background. I first watched him in 2005 drama Secret Smile based on Nicci French’s thriller, and I remember not liking him in the first place as he was good at being bad. In any case, what I prefer in this drama is the two minutes conclusion with Freya’s last stare at her husband.