Students Staff

17 December 2013

Academic to return to BBC Two for series on shopgirls

Colchester Campus

Dr Pamela Cox

Dr Pamela Cox

Essex academic Dr Pamela Cox is to return to our TV screens next year to present a new BBC television series on the history of shopgirls.

The three-part series on the true story of life behind the counter follows the success of last year’s BBC Two series Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs, which Dr Cox also presented.

Shopgirls examines the lives of the young women who worked behind the counter from the drapery stores of the 1860s, when their employment outside the home was taking off, through the Edwardian era’s tumultuous social upheavals all the way to the counter-cultural revolutions of the 1960s and the shock of the Biba bombing.

The historical series will feature archive and testimony revealing what life was like working, and in some cases living, inside the shops and departments stores of the time. It is an engaging and significant story about class, gender, sex and shopping – told from behind the counter of some of the nation’s favourite shops.

Dr Cox said: “Researching this new series and book has been a real revelation. Britain may have been a nation of shopkeepers – but they relied, in turn, on an army of shopgirls.”

Executive producer Annabel Hobley, who also produced Servants: the True Story of Life below Stairs, said: “Shopgirls are exciting, sometimes feisty, historically important figures that were pivotal to the way our consumer society shaped up. Shopgirls were at the cutting edge of social change a hundred years ago, and the story of their lives is deeply revealing of how we live, work and shop today.”


Note to Editors

Dr Pamela Cox will not be available for interview about this programme until nearer the transmission date, which has yet to be confirmed.

To contact the University of Essex Communications Office please call 01206 872400 or e-mail

For more information about the BBC series please contact Suzie Schilling from BBC Communications on or 07711 385 730.

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