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Mr. Selfridge actor dishes about his role in season 2 of the popular drama

2014-07-31 14:31
Johannesburg - The second season of the popular period drama Mr. Selfridge has returned to our screens.

This time around the world famous Selfridge & Co department store celebrates its fifth year of trading while rumours of a coming war in Europe are taking place.

Harry, played by Jeremy Priven, tries to prepare his staff for the potential changes ahead, while making sure his profits stay high. If war does arrive, he knows the business must do its bit on the home front, and work to keep British morale high.

In this interview Cal MacAinch, who plays the new Head of Fashion Mr Thackeray, talks about what it’s like to star in the hit drama.

On playing the Head of Fashion:

Cal MacAninch cuts quite a dash as new Head of Fashion Mr Thackeray.

"My wife thought it was quite funny, the idea that I was playing a fashion expert. I think it’s quite funny too.

"I have three children. I don’t get new clothes, unless it’s for a special night out," he smiles.

"Mr Thackeray looks delicious. Even though there’s a certain uniform he would have to wear for work in the store, he adds a number of flamboyant touches.

"For example, he almost always has a little bow tie on and a little splash of colour. I like to think of him being fragrant.

"He’s quite elegant in the way he walks. He moves like a dancer. He has got that elegance and was trained by Paul Poiret, the great fashion designer who transformed ladies’ fashion in Paris and across Europe in the early 1900s.

"Mr Thackeray is a man of exacting standards. He’s been poached from Harrods by Mr Selfridge to come and revamp his fashion department.

"When I first walked on to the store set I couldn’t believe it. The fashion department looks so beautiful and sumptuous - the dresses, gloves and hats. Fashion may not be my forte but even I could tell it was stunningly dressed. An amazing set."

On what it's like to star in the hit drama:

Glasgow-born Cal was impressed with the first series of Mr Selfridge.

"I thought it was a great drama and I liked the idea that I was going to bring something a bit different to it. The producers said, 'Mr Thackeray has got a secret.' So I asked, 'What’s that secret?' And they replied, 'It’s a secret!' "So we’ll have to wait and see."

Was it daunting joining an established cast?

"Yes, definitely. There is a certain acting style. You want to bring your own thing but you also have to complement the style of the piece.

"So, of course, on your first day on set you don’t know what you’re doing. You’ve no idea how to speak, how to walk, how to wear the clothes. There’s no rehearsal so you’re straight in.

"Absolutely, it is daunting. But every single person I’ve met on the set has been fantastic and really welcoming. The whole experience has been great fun."

Locations in this series include Victoria House in London’s Bloomsbury Square.

"That is used in part for the staff entrance and it looks incredible. Just like Selfridge’s.

"I used to be a regular at the Oxford Street store when I lived in London. I’d pop in from time to time.

"So I know just how incredible the sets are for Mr Selfridge. When you walk around them you really believe you’re in the store.

"I heard some viewers thought we filmed overnight inside the real Selfridges after it had closed its doors to customers. Because it looks that realistic."

Cal’s credits include: Downton Abbey; Wild At Heart; Silent Witness; The Awakening; Holby Blue.

Catch the exciting new season of Mr. Selfridge on Sunday at 21:00 on BBC Entertainment (Channel 120)

(Photos: BBC Entertainment)

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