ITV has joined with premium streaming service Hulu to commission a new eight-part drama about prostitution in Georgian London.
Harlots follows Margaret Wells (Oscar-nominated Samantha Morton), a woman who struggles to reconcile her roles as mother and brother owner in the family drama that offers a new take on 18th century London’s most valuable commercial activity – sex.
“In 1760s London there were brothels on every corner run by women who were both enterprising and tenacious,” says Executive Producer, Alison Owen. “History has largely ignored them, but their stories are in turn outrageous, brutal, humorous and real.”
Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey, The Outcast) will play Charlotte, Margaret’s eldest daughter and the city’s most coveted courtesan in the drama which is based on the stories of real women. Lesley Manville (Mum, River) plays rival madam Lydia Quigley, whose ruthless streak sees Margaret put her own family at risk to fight off the competition.
Harlots, which begins filming in London in June, is written by playwright and screenwriter Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe) and is the first commission for Monumental Pictures, the independent company founded by Oscar-nominated producers Alison Owen (Suffragette) and Debra Hayward (Les Miserables).
The series will air on ITV Encore in the UK and will stream exclusively in the US on Hulu as part of Hulu Originals.