The Paradise (2012)

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Released 27-Mar-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 472:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Drury
Marc Jobst
Susan Tully

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Emun Elliott
Joanna Vanderham
Elaine Cassidy
Patrick Malahide
David Hayman
Case ?
RPI ? Music Maurizio Malagnini

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The BBC has been in the business of costume dramas for as long as I can remember. It is no surprise then that this series came from the BBC and has been shown locally on the ABC over recent months. Having said that this series is set in a world which has not seen much attention before, the world of the early department store. The series is set in London's first department store, The Paradise, owned and run by the young, good looking entrepreneur John Moray (Emun Elliott). The time period is Victorian England specifically the 1870s. The series is inspired by a novel by Emile Zola, Au Bonheur des Dames which was actually set in Paris 20 years earlier. According to what I read it is a loose adaptation but as I have not read the novel so cannot comment directly.

     Moray is a man on a mission, determined to be successful at a business he is inventing as he goes with nothing to really base it on. Supporting him are his loyal lieutenants, the upstanding and ethical Assistant Manager, Mr Dudley (Matthew McNulty) and the not-so-ethical Office Manager & problem fixer, Mr Jonas (David Hayman). His store is staffed with a variety of young men and women who serve in the various departments. They live upstairs above the shop in the same building and must agree to certain behavioural standards to retain their employment. Presiding over the ladieswear department is the prim and proper Miss Audrey (Sarah Lancashire) a somewhat regretful spinster. Moray, who is a widower, has a romantic relationship with Katherine Glendenning (Elaine Cassidy) who is the daughter of the rich and powerful financier Lord Glendenning (Patrick Malahide) who is indulgent towards his somewhat spoiled and headstrong daughter. Her mother died some years earlier.

     In the first episode, a young girl from the country, Denise (Joanna Vanderham), comes to London to work for her Uncle, Edmund Lovett (Peter Wight) who runs a small dressmaking business opposite The Paradise. As he refuses to move with the times his store has very few customers. He cannot afford to support himself, let alone employ his niece. Accordingly, she seeks employment at The Paradise and is accepted as a shop girl in the ladieswear department. She quickly begins to make an impact, making suggestions for change which impresses Moray but annoys Miss Audrey. The series of eight episodes then follows the lives, dramas and romances of these characters.

     This is a good quality series with a lighter touch than some costume dramas, perhaps because of the Parisian origin of the story. Emun Elliott and Joanna Vanderham are both very good in their roles although Elaine Cassidy is not completely believable as Katherine Glendenning. This is not helped by some of her costumes feeling out of place. In the making of featurette they discuss how they used some poetic license in that regard. The producers built a street and the shop front around an old house which they then converted into the department store. They have certainly done a good job on the details and the fit out although the shop itself seems a little too small. Some of the dialogue and character actions do not seem, at least to me, to fit with the times and place of the story’s setting, however if you go with the conceit of the setting this is an enjoyable series which will certainly be enjoyed by fans of the genre.

     The eight episodes are spread over three discs.

     Recommended for fans of romantic costume drama.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is disappointing.

     The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio for this show. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was quite soft throughout added to by a significant amount of light colour bleeding such as lights and windows. In some scenes this was quite distracting.

     The colour was decent but was affected by the bleeding mentioned above plus fairly regular and sometimes quite noticeable chroma noise. Faces especially in shadow got quite a mottled look at times.

     There was also some blocking during fast motion, occasional jagged edges and low level noise.

     There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read.

     There are no noticeable layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is good.

     The discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0.

     Dialogue was generally clear and easy to hear and understand although some of the regional English accents were hard to pick up and the subtitles were useful at times.

     The music which is light orchestral sounds quite good.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     The menu included music and motion.

Behind the Doors of The Paradise (28:01)

     An interesting and worthwhile making of featurette which covers the actors, characters, sets, costumes, the design and build process, restoration of the old house, hairstyles, makeup and the artistic license taken by the producers. Well worth watching.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This show is available in the same format in the UK but not in the US at this stage. Buy Local.


    A good quality light costume drama from the BBC, set in London's first department store.

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extra is worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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