Starring Lesley Manville, Samantha Morton, Jessica Brown Findlay and Liv Tyler,will air all three series of the critically acclaimed period drama , acquired by the channel from ITV Studios.
Acclaimed actresses Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts, Rillington Place, The Last Panthers, Minority Report, Cider With Rosie), Lesley Manville (Mum, River, Maleficent) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Victor Frankenstein, The Outcast, Downton Abbey) star in the series, which is produced by Monumental Pictures, part of ITV Studios. Liv Tyler (Gunpowder, Lord Of The Rings) joins the cast in series two and three.
Set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London,is a powerful family drama offering 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 (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 must fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk. 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.”
Harlots is written by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe) and created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman. Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward and Alison Owen serve as Executive Producers.
Each series of Harlots is 8×50’ episodes. Series one and two will be aired back to back on BBC Two later this year. Series three will air at a later date.