EXCLUSIVE: Following the closure of pay channel ITV Encore earlier this year, ITV has opted not to proceed with any further seasons of Harlots, TVWise can reveal. There had been some question as to whether or not it would move to the main channel as fellow ITV Encore originals The Frankenstein Chronicles and Dark Heart did.
The news comes on the heels of U.S. streaming service Hulu, who were originally co-producers, stepping up to fully commission an eight episode third season. I hear that ITV Studios Global Entertainment is now seeking a new home for the second and third seasons of Harlots here in the UK.
This is not the first time that a UK original drama has been cancelled only to be picked up by a North American streaming service without the originating broadcaster’s involvement. Earlier this year, Sky One cancelled Agatha Raisin, prompting Acorn TV to fully commission a second season; and when BBC Two executives opted not to continue with The Last Kingdom, Netflix (who served as the global broadcaster outside the UK) stepped up and ordered season three. Netflix UK will launch season three of The Last Kingdom later this year.
Harlots follows Margaret Wells and her daughters, as she struggles to reconcile her roles as mother and brothel owner. When her business comes under attack from Lydia Quigley, a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret will fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk. The drama series is produced by ITV Studios label Monumental Pictures and stars Samantha Morton (Cider With Rosie), Lesley Manville (Maleficent) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey). Harlots was penned by Viceroy’s House scribe Moira Buffini and is based on an original idea by Buffini and Alison Newman. The executive producers are Alison Owen, Debra Hayward, Alison Carpenter, Moira Buffini and Alison Newman.