BBC ‘The Paradise’ episode 2

Alrighty, the second episode of BBC2’s new period drama, The Paradise, aired last night. This episode features Lark Rise to Candleford’s Olivia Hallinan as Katherine Glendenning’s troubled friend, Jocelin. Jocelin’s erratic spending raises Denise’s suspicions: “a lady doesn’t usually buy the same hat in three different colours.” Katherine insists to Moray that Jocelin is fine, but shop boy Sam (Stephen Wight) is convinced otherwise. When Jocelin comes over faint in the middle of the shop, Sam manages to save her from the embarrassment of being seen publically in a moment of weakness. Jocelin later invites Sam to see her and tearfully confesses that she’s left her husband. She falls hysterically into Sam’s arms and kisses him, only for Lord Glendenning and Katherine (Elaine Cassidy) to walk in. Sam is blamed entirely. Katherine and her father demand of Moray Sam’s dismissal, but Moray is determined to hear the full story before making a decision. Sam is confined to the delivery yard, a fact which Pauline (Ruby Bentall) seems glad about: she clearly has a crush on Sam and is hurt when he slights her at the beginning of the episode. I’d like to think that, if Sam ever gets over his infatuation with Denise (Joanna Vanderham), he and Pauline would make a sweet pair. For the meantime, however, Denise’s uncle is trying to play the matchmaker. Maybe he thinks that if Sam and Denise get married then Sam will come and work in his draper’s shop and thus save him from destitution.

(Olivia Hallinan as Jocelin.)

(Stephen Wight as Sam.)

Eventually, Moray and Katherine learn the truth of Jocelin’s behaviour, and Sam is reinstated to his post. I felt sorry for Jocelin – she is trapped in a marriage to a man who apparently doesn’t know she exists and she cracked under the pressure of keeping up the appearance of domestic bliss. I hope that Katherine can continue to be a friend to her, so that she’ll have at least one person supporting her.

Another plotline running through the episode is Denise’s latest Big Idea. (Maybe I should keep a running tally…) This week she suggests to Moray that they hold a contest to crown the most attractive female customer Miss Paradise Pink. Moray is delighted with the idea, and seems, quite frankly, more than a little bit aroused. He’s very fond of whispering in Denise’s ear. I wish he wouldn’t. I’m not entirely sure why women are so keen on him. Yes, he is quite good-looking (minus the silly beard) but I find that he comes across as a bit sleazy. Perhaps it’s just me… Personally, I prefer Moray’s sidekick, Dudley (Matthew McNulty), and I wish they would give him more screen time. Anyway, as Denise doesn’t want Miss Audrey (Sarah Lancashire) to know that it was her idea, Moray proposes it to Miss Audrey, who unsurprisingly, thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. (Did they have sliced bread in Victorian times?!) She is always utterly enchanted with any idea that Moray suggests, as she is with the man himself, judging by how she simpers whenever he comes into a room. Like most women in this programme. Miss Audrey does not have a head for innovation so of course relies on Denise to come up with the finer details of the Miss Paradise Pink contest. The lucky women is chosen by Moray at the end of episode, and I like that it is a nameless customer, rather than the corny choices of either Jocelin (to console her), Katherine (to show his devotion) or Denise (to reward the brains behind the operation/to make a public proclamation of his lust). I think Sam must be quite glad that Jocelin’s portrait isn’t going to haunt him for the rest of his career (the winner of MPP got to have a portrait of herself on the wall of the shop).

(Joanna Vanderham as Denise.)

It is evident that Denise is really the only person with a real eye for design and a good business head. Really, Moray should probably just let her run the place. Of course, if he marries her by the end of the series, she’ll get to rule over The Paradise by his side. We shall see.

Overall, another enjoyable episode, again featuring some lovely costumes. By the looks of the trailer for next week’s episode, Miss Audrey is going to clamp down on Denise’s Big Ideas. I look forward to seeing how she intends to manage without Denise’s help…it should be fairly amusing…

(All photos ©BBC 2012.)


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