Mr Selfridge’s Gregory Fitoussi: ‘Henri’s been left traumatised by the war’

Henri Leclair is plagued by demons from his time at war in Sunday’s Mr Selfridge on ITV, as Gregory Fitoussi reveals… 


In last week’s opening episode of Mr Selfridge, Henri Leclair returned from serving as a soldier in the war and married his sweetheart Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus)…


“Henri’s been away at war and apart from Agnes for four years so, as soon as he came back, he wanted to marry her as quickly as he could. He’s completely in love with her.”


Why do you think Henri and Agnes make the perfect couple?


“Well, they’re very different but they also have many similarities in that they are both artists and free thinkers. Although they’re from very different backgrounds, when they come together it just works – they had great chemistry and fell in love. Aisling is really easy to work with – she’s funny, professional and very talented.”

Henri should be on cloud nine with his new wife but, this week, it’s clear something’s troubling him. How has he been affected by his time at war?
“Henri’s returned from the Battle of Verdun, which was one of the worst places you could be during the war. We can only imagine what horrors he’s faced – he’s seen violence, bloodshed and things people shouldn’t have to live through – and he’s been left traumatised. Henri wants to move on and return to his normal life, but it’s going to be complicated.”

Henri and Agnes are drafted back early from honeymoon to help host an exclusive fashion event at Selfridges. But during a photocall, Henri experiences flashbacks of the war and has to flee…
“On the outside, Henri wants to appear ‘normal’ but, like real-life soldiers dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he’s trying to hide what’s going on inside. Henri is now a very different character to the one we’ve always known but, in time, viewers will begin to understand what’s happened to him.”


Is Henri able to talk to Agnes about how he’s feeling? How will this affect their relationship throughout the series?


“Henri doesn’t want to talk to anyone about it, least of all his wife. As the story unfolds, Henri struggles having normal relationships with anyone, especially Agnes…”

How are you enjoying playing Henri this series?
“I’ve enjoyed trying to stretch the character and explore his feelings. I just want to do my best as an actor and make Henri interesting and different… and then if some women like him, why not?”