Originally premiered on ITV Encore in July 2018, Harlots was recently picked up by BBC, with the three series airing from August-November 2020. Written, directed and produced by an all-female team, the series is created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman and based on The Covent Garden Ladies by Hallie Rubenhold. The 18th-century drama is set in London and follows brothel owner Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay) as she fights back against the new pimps in town, Isaac (Alfie Allen) and Hal (Ash Hunter), Lucy Wells (Eloise Smyth) as she joins forces with the new owners of the town’s molly-house, Elizabeth Harvey (Angela Griffin) and her son Fredo (Aidan Cheng), while Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville) continues to suffer the abandonment of her family and the experimental treatments of her doctors as she befriends the young Kate (Daisy Head).
With season two ending in such an interesting way, I couldn’t wait to see how the story would progress in this final series. Unfortunately, this third series seems to go in a number of new directions and doesn’t properly pick up on what we found out was going on. It’s a shame that this wasn’t more of a focus as it would have really pushed some boundaries in a much darker way, but there’s still a lot of interesting drama that we’re given to watch, instead.
The characters are still having a lot of fun with their roles, the costumes are just as glorious, the sharp dialogue continues to be rebellious, and there’s a huge twist that I definitely wasn’t expecting, either. Newbies Alfie Allen, Ash Hunter, Angela Griffin, Aidan Cheng, and Daisy Head are all great additions, too.
I can see why the series was originally cancelled after this season when the first two were so great, but I still think there’s so much promise left for these characters and would love to see it picked it up again if they were even thinking about that. I’ve had a lot of fun watching all three series through lockdown and am definitely sad to see it end.