The Paradise to run for second series

BBC1 period drama recommissioned after first four episodes pull in a consolidated average audience of 5.9 million viewers. BBC1's £8m period drama The Paradise will open its doors for a second run. The series has been recommissioned with three episodes of the first series still to go. The story of the first-ever department store in the UK, starring Joanna Vanderham, Sarah Lancashire, Emun Elliott and Patrick Malahide, The Paradise began with 5.5 million viewers in a Tuesday night slot last month. BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said it was "really interesting to experiment with period drama on BBC1 beyond the traditional Sunday night slot". By putting it out on Tuesday, Cohen also avoided a head to head clash with ITV1's Downton Abbey and another acclaimed (albeit lower-rating) drama, Channel 4's Homeland, which also airs at 9pm on Sunday. Andrew Marr's History of the World, which went up against Downton Abbey on BBC1, has suffered in the ratings with just 2.3 million viewers for last Sunday's outing, a quarter of the ITV drama's 9.5 million. With its early autumn launch, the BBC1 controller beat ITV1's rival department-store drama Mr Selfridge, a £10m project starring Jeremy Piven, to the screen. Cohen added: "I'm delighted that the show will be returning for a second series, and can assure its loyal following that there are still some dramatic twists to come in the three episodes still to air this autumn." Writer Bill Gallagher, who previously made his name with another costume drama, Lark Rise to Candleford, loosely adapted The Paradise from the French novel by Émile Zola. The BBC said the first four episodes had a consolidated average audience of 5.9 million viewers. It was commissioned by Cohen and Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning.

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