Five Things You Didn’t Know about Hulu’s “Harlots”

Harlots is a British period drama that has had a successful first season on Hulu, with the result that a second season is expected to come out in 2018. Like its name suggests, the TV show is centered around prostitutes in a historical London, thus providing its viewers with a look at a side of history that does not get covered much in other period dramas.

Here are five things that you may or may not have known about Harlots:

Inspired By The Covent Garden Ladies

Harlots was inspired by a book called The Covent Garden Ladies by Hallie Rubenhold, a British historian who has written a number of books about some of the lesser-known sides of the 18th century as well as other subject matters. The name of said books is a reference to Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, which was a directory of prostitutes situated close to Covent Garden in Westminster. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that The Covent Garden Ladies is focused on the people who had important roles in the creation of the directory as well as the world that surrounded them.

Set in 1763

The TV show is set in 1763, which means the Georgian era of British history. Generally speaking, the Georgian era is considered to have started up in 1714 and continued until 1830 because of four successive British monarchs named George, though it is interesting to note that the era is sometimes extended to encompass the short seven-year reign of William IV as well. Regardless, 1763 means that Harlot falls under the reign of George III at the end of the Seven Years’ War, which might be better-known to Americans as the French and Indian War.

Complex Look at Prostitution

Some reviewers have praised Harlots for providing a complex look at prostitution. This stands out because media centered around prostitution has rather unfortunate tendencies of bumping into one potential pitfall or another. For example, some works turn prostitutes into sexualized caricatures, which is rather dubious for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, other works turn the stories of their characters into miserable tragedies without so much as a single exception, which is oversimplified to say the least. Harlots is interesting because its characters respond to prostitution in a wide range of manners under a wide range of circumstances, thus making it not just more complex but also truer to life.

Extensive Involvement of Women in Its Production

Speaking of which, some have credited this complex look at prostitution to the fact that Harlots has a lot of women who are involved in its production. For example, its executive producers consist of five women. Furthermore, women were involved in its production as both directors and writers. Finally, it is interesting to note that the production company Monumental Pictures was actually founded by Allison Owen and Debra Hayward, both of whom are serving as executive producers.

Liv Taylor Has Joined the Cast

Recently, it was announced that Liv Taylor was joining the cast of Harlots for its second season. She will be playing a character named Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam, a fixture on the social scene who is becoming more and more desperate because she is being blackmailed by Lydia Quigley. However, it has been revealed that she will find a source of friendship in Charlotte Wells, who is the daughter of Lydia’s rival Margaret Wells.


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