Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote Fleabag series 2’s darkest joke as “revenge” after BBC vetoed original line

"The BBC were like, 'You can't say c**t,'" Phoebe Waller-Bridge explained. So she came up with something much, much worse

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Getty, SL

The eagerly-awaited second series of Fleabag is not far off, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s critically-acclaimed comedy returning to BBC3 in March 2019.

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Based on what we’ve seen in the first episode, it’s a brilliant return for the series – and includes a hilariously dark joke involving Andrew Scott’s new priest character.

We won’t spoil the joke here, but according to writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the gag was originally something very different before the BBC stepped in, asking that the line be changed because of its language.

“The BBC were like, ‘You can’t say c**t,’” Waller-Bridge said at a recent screening for the series’ first episode.

“And then I was like, ‘Argh, I just wanna say c**t!’ So in a kind of revenge mode, I did something else.”

Accordingly, Waller-Bridge wrote an alternative gag that didn’t include the bad language, but intentionally went to a much darker place, creating a moment of black comedy that stands out in the finished episode.

“They said, ‘You’ll need an alternative just in case we can’t say c**t.’” Waller-Bridge laughed. “Oh, you want an alternative?”

In the end, though, cast and crew agreed that the second joke ended up being much funnier than the earlier draft, and series newcomer Andrew Scott said the incident reflected the unusually fluid atmosphere while making the show.

“It’s a brilliant thing, working like that,” he told the crowd.

“There’s an obsession, naturally, when you’re making anything and you’re under budget and time constraints to complete the call sheet.

“That’s the name of the game at the end of the day. But sometimes what gets sacrificed is actual creativity on the actual day.

“Such wonderful moments come out of live, genuine creativity on set, and that’s really to be embraced.”

Suffice to say, we think a little bit of comedic compromise paid off…

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Find out when Fleabag series two will air online and on BBC1 here