​betty commissioned to make new BBC Two history series on Shopgirls

Popular factual indie betty has been commissioned to make a new three part series on the true story of life behind the counter for BBC TWO.

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

The historical series, presented by Dr Pamela Cox, senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Essex, 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. The commission follows on from the ratings success of history series Servants: the True Story of Life Below Stairs for BBC TWO which peaked at 2.5million.

The 3 x 1 hour series was commissioned by Martin Davidson, head of commissioning, history and business at the BBC. It is executive produced by Annabel Hobley for betty and Martin Davidson for BBC TWO.

Dr Pamela Cox said: “Researching this new series has been a real revelation. Britain may have been a nation of shopkeepers - but they relied 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.”

Martin Davidson, head of commissioning, history and business at the BBC, said: “We were delighted with the success of Servants, which showcased Dr Pamela’s Cox’s insightful take on Britain’s social history. Shopgirls will be a fascinating opportunity to examine a remarkable period of transformation through the lives of women who have shaped the world today.”