County Durham’s biggest drama series, The Paradise, has been dropped from the BBC to make way for future dramas.
The Paradise is the most popular costume drama set in the north east and premiered in september 2012. It is an adaptation of Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Paradise) taking place in north east England instead of Paris. The series takes place in 1875 and follows the lives of people that live and work around The Paradise, the first English department store. A series of problems with the set saw a shaky start behind the scenes but people were tuning in to BBC in their millions, with every episode attracting over 5 million viewers.
County Durham is home to the series and the majority of the show is filmed in and around Lambton Castle, a stately home located between Sunderland and Chester-le-street. The castle was transformed into an upmarket English department store for the show, set around 1870 the store would be bustling with customers and curious shoppers. In the real world a number of additions were made to the home just before 1870 which were then largely removed in the early 1930s, for the series they added and removed some key elements in post production. Additionally, several streets around the home were physically built and yet more were added using computer technology.
While the show was considered a success by many and received a primarily positive reception the BBC reported that it would be dropped after the end of the second series to make room for more dramas to come. The second series performed slightly worse for viewing figures, with several episodes barely managing to draw 5 million people – compared to the majority of the first season which achieved more than 5.5 million viewers. Perhaps ending the show on a positive note while interest was relatively high will be a good move for the BBC.