The Paradise is closing its doors. BBC One has cancelled the period drama after airing two seasons of the series, TVWise has confirmed.
The period piece, which was loosely based on the novel by Émile Zola, followed the exploits of one of the first department stores and at its core was a love story between two central characters: Denise and Moray. The series had been in development at the BBC as far back as 2011 and was fast-tracked to compete with ITV’s similar themed Mr Selfridge. The Paradise was penned by Bill Gallagher, produced in-house by BBC Drama Production and featured a large cast which included, amongst others, Emun Elliott, Joanna Vanderham, Elaine Cassidy, Sarah Lancashire and Ben Daniels.
Both seasons of The Paradise had ok but not stellar ratings and the series was never able to match the mass appeal of ITV’s Mr Selfridge which logged close to 8 million viewers for each episode across its initial 10 week run. In its first season, The Paradise averaged 4.9 million viewers (5.7 million consolidated) and quickly earned a second season renewal. The show’s second season saw a slight dip in the ratings, averaging an overnight audience of 4.7 million viewers and a consolidated audience of 5.5 million viewers, but more or less held up well year-to-year.
As such, the BBC notes that rather than being driven by the series’ ratings performance, the decision to retire The Paradise comes out of a need to make room for a number of new dramas. “We are incredibly proud to have made two successful series of period drama The Paradise for BBC One”, a representative of the BBC said in a statement. “However in order to make room for new dramas to come through, The Paradise won’t be returning.”
Such new dramas that BBC One has coming up in 2014 include 1970s set spy thriller The Game, a medical drama series set during World War One titled The Ark, three-parter From There To Here which is set in the aftermath of the 1996 Arndale bombing, a seven-part series adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, a new drama series from The Syndicate scribe Kay Mellor titled In The Club, three-part drama serial Jamaica Inn and kidnapping drama Happy Valley.