ITV is teaming up with Hulu for their next high-end period drama. The commercial broadcaster has given the green-light to Harlots, an 8 episode period drama set in a brothel in 18th century Georgian London which is being co-produced by US SVOD service, TVWise has learned. Samantha Morton (Cider With Rosie), Lesley Manville (Maleficent) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) are attached to star.
Described as a “powerful family drama”, Harlots follows Margaret Wells (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 (Manville), a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret will fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk. Jessica Brown Findlay will star as Charlotte, Margaret’s eldest daughter and the city’s most coveted courtesan.
The eight episode period drama is being penned by Viceroy’s House scribe Moira Buffini and is based on an original idea by Buffini and Alison Newman. Alison Owen and Debra Hayward’s Monumental Pictures are producing, making this the first major commission for the fledgling indie. Lawrence Till is the series producer, while Coky Giedroyc and China Moo-Young are attached to direct. The executive producers are Alison Owen, Debra Hayward, Alison Carpenter, Moira Buffini and Alison Newman.
“Harlots is an exploration of family, power and brutal economics in a vibrant booming world full of colour and noise. We’re delighted to be commissioning the series for ITV Encore”, said ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea, who commissioned the series. “Moira and Alison’s scripts are shocking, fascinating and compelling.”
Production on Harlots is set to commence later this summer for a 2017 premiere on ITV Encore in the UK and Hulu in the United States. The co-production agreement between ITV and Hulu was brokered by ITV Studios Global Entertainment who will be shopping the series to broadcasters around the globe.
“Written and produced by an award-winning creative team with an all-star cast, Harlots offers a unique perspective of life on the streets of 1760s London with fast-moving and action-packed storylines and strong lead characters”, added Maria Kyriacou, ITV Studios’ President of International. “This is a world class drama which is sure to appeal to audiences across the globe as strongly as it will to ITV Encore and Hulu’s viewers in the UK and US.”