On viewing Series 3, I was struck by how well the producers targeted all three series to the late 20th-century-middle-class-working-woman-viewer. The House of Elliott is all about work problems: Establishing a career with insufficient formal credentials, working in a man's world, finding out who you can trust in business, working with people you dislike who are nonetheless valuable contributors to the business, supervising people who dislike each other, being hit on by male coworkers and business associates, juggling your demanding career with the often conflicting demands of a husband's or boyfriend's, juggling motherhood and work, and dealing creatively with work emergencies. In Series 3, lower-class working conditions, and socialism as a potential solution, are major new themes.
There is also more emphasis on the demands of motherhood (Bea and Tilly have babies) and on previously minor characters, especially on the home lives of House of Elliott employees. The pace is frenetic compared to the first two series, with lots of multiple plot lines and quick shifts back and forth between them, unnecessarily dramatic camera angles, dropped situations, and overall too much going on. All the characters make major life and in some cases personality shifts. Tilly becomes clinically depressed. Bea's new boyfriend Daniel rapidly evolves from an arrogant, callous, resentful, self-centered, exploitative jerk (he's even a gigolo) to a sensitive, caring guy who makes major sacrifices for Evie. Evie's rejected boyfriend Miles apparently turns from being a sweet, caring, sensitive, generous guy to a shark trying to take over the House of Elliott. Is this really a science fiction series where their brains got swapped in the night?
Every single one of the plots ends up as a cliffhanger. Will Tilly and Norm become employed again? Will Agnes leave the House of Elliott to become a full-time music hall singer? Will Jack succeed in his new career as a socialist politician, and will Bea be able to cope with being a politician's wife? Will Donald be happy with all the sacrifices he has made for Bea? Will Miles end up running the House of Elliott? And many more . . . but most of all, will the new rift between Bea and Evie (who throughout this show have always been closer to each other than to any husband or boyfriend) ever heal?
Stay tuned for Series 4: Except, as far as I can tell, there wasn't one. Nonetheless, fans of Series 1 and 2 will certainly want to watch Series 3.
Oh, and the clothes are great.