ITV has teamed up with US streaming site Hulu to commission an eight-part drama series about London’s 18th century sex trade.
Set against the backdrop of Georgian London, and based on the stories of real women, Harlots follows Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton) and her daughters, as she struggles to reconcile her roles as mother and brothel owner.
When her business comes under attack from Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), a rival madam with a ruthless streak, Margaret will fight back, even if it means putting her family at risk.
Brown Findlay will also star as Charlotte, Margaret’s eldest daughter and the city’s most coveted courtesan who begins to grapple with her position in both society and her immediate family.
The series has been written by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Moira Buffini and is based on an idea by Buffini and Alison Newman.
In the UK Harlots will air on subscription channel ITV Encore while in the US it’ll be available exclusively on Hulu under the Hulu Originals banner.
Victoria Fea, ITV’s Controller of Drama, said: “Harlots is an exploration of family, power and brutal economics in a vibrant booming world full of colour and noise.
“We’re delighted to be commissioning the series for ITV Encore. Moira and Alison’s scripts are shocking, fascinating and compelling.”
Maria Kyriacou, President of International for ITV Studios, added: “Written and produced by an award-winning creative team with an all-star cast, Harlots offers a unique perspective of life on the streets of 1760s London with fast-moving and action-packed storylines and strong lead characters.
“This is a world class drama which is sure to appeal to audiences across the globe as strongly as it will to ITV Encore and Hulu’s viewers in the UK and US.”