Set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London, The Hulu-ITV co-production follows the Wells family, led by matriarch Margaret (Samantha Morton). When her daughter Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) places herself in the home of archrival bawd Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), their toxic and deep-set rivalry is taken to a dangerous new level. It hails from the creative team of Moira Buffini, Alison Newman, Alison Owen, Debra Hayward and Alison Carpenter, with Coky Giedroyc returning as lead director and Grainne Marmion producing.
At the TCA winter press tour in January, Owen said Harlots is a “whore’s eye view” of the era and that there are “no male gazes.” She added that a series about this period in English history is a great way to get around TV decency police because a lot of the period language is not on contemporary lists of banned words. “Nobody wants to see a timid piece of work,” Buffini said at winter panel.