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Harlots bursts at the seams with viewers praising debut of racy drama on BBC Two

The premiere of the historical drama was a hit as it moved from ITV Encore to the BBC.

Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville in Harlots
Published: Wednesday, 5th August 2020 at 10:14 pm

Viewers were enthusiastic about the debut of Georgian bonkbuster drama Harlots on BBC Two, with many on social media wondering how they hadn't seen the racy historical drama before.


Harlots premiered on the now defunct channel ITV Encore in 2017 and was shown in the US on Hulu, but that network in June decided against renewing it for season four and the BBC swooped to pick up the three seasons from ITV Studios for broadcast on BBC Two. Star Lesley Manville was hopeful that season four might yet happen.

A viewers summed up the feeling of many when he said that it was "great that hidden away shows (like #harlots on @BBCTwo now) are getting reshown on bigger channels."

Some viewers were big fans of Harlots already, having seen it on ITV Encore. This fan said "Get ready to fall in love with some amazing women."

Harlots stars Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay, Band of Gold's Samantha Morton and Manville in the tale drawn from a historical book from 2005, The Covent Garden Ladies, by Hallie Rubenhold.

Besides the female dominated cast, Blackadder star Tim McInnerny caught this viewer's attention.

Another simply tweeted: "Well, #Harlots is rather good."

The ribald humour of the first episode was echoed on social media.

Another viewer commented that the first episode was "a rip rollicking 50 minutes of rich and delicious language and performances".

Harlots' wordplay and numerous gags was continually referenced on social media.

As much as Harlots was a social media sensation, however, not everyone was in love with the first episode.

Elsewhere, this viewer was preoccupied with the historical accuracy of the drama.

All three seasons of Harlots will be broadcast on BBC Two after they were acquired from ITV Studios.

Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, said in a statement: “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 returns to BBC Two next Wednesday with episodes three and four. You can stream the entire first season on BBC iPlayer now.


If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.


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