BBC Two acquires period drama series, Harlots

4.8.2020

With its recent acquisition by BBC Two, Harlots, the Hulu period drama, is getting its first UK terrestrial broadcast after an original run on the now defunct ITV Encore satellite service.

Set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London, Harlots is a powerful family drama that offers a brand new take on the city’s most valuable commercial activity – sex. Inspired by the stories of real women, the series follows Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton) and her daughters, as she struggles to reconcile her roles as mother and brothel owner.

When her business comes under attack from Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret must fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk. Jessica Brown Findlay stars as Charlotte, Margaret’s eldest daughter and the city’s most coveted courtesan, who begins to grapple with her position in both society and her immediate family.

Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, says: “Aided by a truly magnificent cast, Harlots brings 18th Century London to life with enormous style, wit, intelligence and humour. BBC viewers will become immersed in the gripping lives of business women Margaret Wells and Lydia Quigley as they make their way in London’s grimy, decadent world.”

All three series of the show have been met with overwhelmingly positive reviews:

'Obscenely enjoyable': why Harlots is the best show you're not watching

Feminist take on 18th century brothels is a delight

Rival Brothel Owners Square Off in Hulu’s ‘Harlots’

The Farm post produced the first series which will air in double-bills weekly from Wednesday 5th August on BBC Two at 9pm.

The second series will follow immediately after.

You can watch the trailer here.