Mr Selfridge series two sees Lady Mae’s world turned upside down as her husband, Lord Loxley, returns – and it’s not for the better.
Katherine Kelly discussed the effect Lord Loxley’s arrival has on her character, as Mr Selfridge arrives back on our screens, set five years on from the last episode, in 1914.
Katherine explained that Lady’s Mae’s husband is not what viewers will expect.
She said: "Lady Mae has painted him out to be this old, weary gentleman who spends his time shooting in the country. But actually he's the complete opposite. A bit of a devil.
"Instantly the tables turn for Lady Mae. You can see Lord Loxley is a nasty piece of work. The fear of God is in Pimble's eyes when he comes back and the whole household trembles.
"It's an exceptional storyline that will come as a shock to the audience. In series one you saw Lady Mae when she wanted to be seen. She treated Selfridge's as her own catwalk and red carpet. When you were in her house it was always on her terms. It was her party that she was throwing.
"But now in series two you see Lady Mae when she wouldn't want you to see her. It really is that thing of not knowing what goes on behind closed doors. Although you will know by the end of this series.”
Katherine added: "You get to know a lot more about Lady Mae and what makes her tick and the kind of woman she really is, rather than the woman she wants you to believe she is. They are two very different things.
"Lady Mae is a celebrity of the day in a way and you see what celebrity is really like when there is no red carpet. You see her vulnerable side for the first time."
Lord Loxley, played by Aidan McArdle, is in big financial trouble and aiming to save himself by returning to London to cash in on the coming First World War.
Katherine said: "Loxley is the landed gentry and Lady Mae is a former Gaiety Girl who married into his money. Once upon a time when they first got together there would have been some good times.
"They've got a love-hate relationship and it's very much hate now. His money problems also impact on her lifestyle. At the outset Loxley closes her Selfridge's account in a very public way and really makes a fool of her.
"This year hard times have hit. She's not the shopaholic that she was in series one. Loxley has definitely dampened her fun. But that's just one of the things he does."
As the storyline evolves, we learn that Lord Loxley is physically violent towards Lady Mae.
"It's almost like a gut reaction from him, like a cat lashing out when they think they're in danger. You just know from watching him that it's a regular occurrence - and now you see why Lord Loxley was always in the country and she was always in the town.
"Although the subject matter may be shocking I really enjoy filming scenes like that, to be honest. I've done enough stage fights in my time. I find them challenging and it's important to get them right, both technically and in terms of the story.
"He threatens to send Lady Mae back to the 'gutter of the Gaiety,' so it's war. This is a battle between Lord and Lady Loxley."
While the scenes have been challenging, Katherine said she has enjoyed that her character has had a range of emotions to go through this time around, similar to when she played Becky in Coronation Street.
She has also loved working with Aidan, as she said: "Aidan is just a joy to work with. He brings such an energy and loads of ideas. And all the directors seem excited when we go up to the Loxleys' house and film scenes.”
Get a sneak peek of series two in the video player above as we chat to Jeremy Piven and the rest of the cast about what we can expect this year.
Mr Selfridge returns on Sunday at 9pm.
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- Mr Selfridge exclusive interview: Jeremy Piven talks series two