Skip to main content

From Across the Pond: "Mary Queen of Shops"

Just a few quick words about tonight's premiere of reality series Mary Queen of Shops on BBC America.

The series, which features fashion expert Mary Portas as she attempts to pull back boutiques from the brink of insolvency, follows a rather similar formula to the network's own Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Inspector, in which Gordon Ramsay and Ruth Watson respectively attempt to save failing restaurants and hotels, and Bravo's Tabatha's Salon Takeover, in which the snippy hairstylist saves sinking salons.

Here, Mary Portas once again provides tough love to some rather misguided entrepreneurs who have opened up clothing boutiques without really having an understanding of fashion, visual merchandising, or how to turn a profit (or sometimes, all three) and who typically seem to lack business acumen in general. Like Ramsay and Watson before her, Portas is outspoken, brusque, and generally given to tell things like they are. She doesn't seem to befriend the targets of her helpful ways but rather ends up breaking them down emotionally and psychologically before she's able to constructively help them turn their businesses around.

And, let's be honest, these people do need her help. They're often in danger of losing their businesses and they've been misguidedly running their boutiques into the ground. Sometimes, the owners are pig-headed and refuse to take on board Portas' advice, while others have seemingly just lost their way over the years and need her to provide a swift kick up the backside to get them back on track.

There are rows, feuds, and petty vendettas at times and Portas does get hot under the collar more than once in the first two episodes provided for review. Regardless, there's a sense of simplistic comfort to Mary Queen of Shops. Despite Portas' short fuse at times, she is coming from a good place and genuinely wants to see her clients succeed and there's a optimistic buoyancy about the program, particularly in these rough economic times, with seeing profits actually improve. Just look at it as a bit of financial escapism.

Mary Queen of Shops launches tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on BBC America.

Comments

Fan of Mary Queen of Shops said…
I was lucky - my British friends had already told me that Mary Queen of Shops was brilliant TV. And when it premiered on BBC America last night I was not disappointed. I laughed, cringed and nodded in agreement with Mary as she tried to sort out Kelvin in his fashion shop Floyds that he thought was as good as London department stoe Harrods but in fact was in the Welsh city of Cardiff next to a bus-stop and not selling luxury fashion at all. He was selling clothes Alexis Carrington would have rejected for her Dynasty wardrobe in 1986 as being too tacky. It's worth noting that there are no "retail critics" in the media today - we have restaurant, music, art, theater and fashion critics but no-one to set a standard of good practise for shop-keepers selling fashion goods. Now we have Mary Queen of Shops - and Mary rocks! From what I read in the British media Mary - aka Mary Portas - is fast becoming an icon. I can't wait for the next show on BBC America!

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

Televisionary

Back in 2006, I founded a television blog called Televisionary (the very one you're reading now).  At the time, it was a little side-project that I stared while working in television development: something to do during the off-hours or (my infrequent) down-time or at my desk during my lunch breaks.  Over the next few years, Televisionary morphed into a full-time job as I watched almost everything on television and cataloged my thoughts, penning reviews, conducting interviews with talent, breaking news, and aggregating the day’s entertainment news headlines and major listings every morning. It got noticed by Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times , The Chicago Tribune and CNN, Deadline and Variety . Televisionary took on a life of its own. It became discussed in Hollywood and I was always surprised to discover that actors or producers or executives who read my TV blog. It was a secret at first, one that I eventually shared with a few friends before spreading outwards, thanks