Harpers West One

1961 | United Kingdom

Written by future IBA Director-General John Whitney and Geoffrey Bellman, Harpers West One - subtitled Shopping With The Lid Off, took viewers behind the scenes at a busy, but fictional, West End department store employing around 4,000 staff. Said Whitney: "Customers rarely think about the life and organisation of a store. In Harpers we hope to show a department store with the lid off, and in doing this bring to light the dramas and comedies that go on behind the smooth service. We built Harpers on information from many of London's leading stores. The characters are 'real,' the carpet is plush, the atmosphere is authentic..." 

Most of the concentration for the drama was set on the sixth floor offices. Jan Holden (pictured behind Vivian Pickles) played widowed personnel officer Harriet Carr, PR man Mike Gilmore was played by Tristram Jelinek, male staff controller Edward Cruickshank was played by Graham Crowden. Chairman of the board, Aubrey Harper was played by Arthur Hewlett. The store closed its doors after two series but before that it was responsible in lifting 1961's Johnny Remember Me to the top of the pop charts - after singer John Leyton turned up in the series singing it - as fictional pop-star Johnny St Cyr.

Published on December 20th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

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