Mr Selfridge star Zoe Tapper has spoken about her own time as a shop worker, a slightly different experience from that of her glitzy on-screen character.

Zoe plays Ellen Love, a glamorous showgirl who is chosen as the face of the new department store after Harry Selfridge becomes infatuated with her.

The actress told the Sun: “I worked on the men’s shirts section in Marks and Spencer’s in Bromley when I was 16. I used to go home and have nightmares about stacking men’s shirts.

“I’ve worked in an off-licence as well, when I was 18 – called Bottoms Up. So I’ve done my fair share of shop work.”

Zoe also revealed that she takes inspiration from Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe for her role on the ITV1 drama.

Speaking about Ellen’s character, she said: “She reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. She’s got this vivacious, sexy, wide-eyed side to her and lives the dream of the showgirl. On the other hand she’s also got these inner demons that lurk underneath and a fragility that can rear its head.

“She’s a lovely social butterfly, but sometimes allows herself to get a little bit too close to the fire and gets her wings singed and gets herself hurt.”

In last night’s episode, Ellen took to alcohol and cocaine after realising that Harry Selfridge will never marry her – just like Marilyn took to prescription drugs to numb her pain.

However, Zoe said Ellen is a strong woman and will not succumb to drugs like the Fifties film icon.

“Ellen’s a survivor and can always claw her way back,” she said.