'Harlots' season 3: EP Moira Buffini reveals her take on Lady Fitz and Charlotte's romance: 'I'm afraid we're cussedly unsentimental'
'Harlots' EP opines that there's a real dearth of nuanced, thrilling stories about love between women on screen.
When Hulu’s ‘Harlots’ returned with season 3 on Wednesday, July 10, there were a few things fans were absolutely hoping would come true, and one of them is a romance between Lady Fitz (Liv Tyler) and Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay). Many fans have demanded the two become a power couple and rule Greek street together, but this may not be all that easy in reality.
Despite their obvious affection for each other, there would always be a power dynamic that is influenced by money. As Moira Buffini, the co-creator and executive producer tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), “Lady Fitz and Charlotte don't have a 'romance.' Such a thing is unsustainable in the world of ‘Harlots’. We wanted to show how mutually beneficial a relationship between a harlot and her lover could be.”
She further elaborates how they would be unequal. “There is always money between them in the bed. A year on, and Charlotte is restless; Lady Fitz is increasingly lonely. Let's see the truth of where that takes them. I'm afraid we're cussedly unsentimental - and that, I hope, is the strength of the show.”
That being said, Team ‘Harlots’ is delighted that Lady Fitz and Charlotte's relationship captured people's imaginations. “I think there's a real dearth of nuanced, thrilling stories about love between women on screen. It matters greatly to me that these stories are told and I'll certainly keep telling them,” she says.
The show does a great job of depicting women in ways unseen on TV before, whether they are villainous, heroic or scrappy. One such character is the incomparable Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), one of the most popular madams of a high-class brothel in Greek Street who has fallen off her financial high horse. She is a force to be reckoned with and it has been a joy to watch her journey, as it will be in the ongoing season 3, just based off the premiere episode.
As Nancy (Kate Fleetwood) puts it on the show, Lydia is “like a wasp, scuttering around when it's been stamped on.” Buffini says, “I love writing Lydia. I find her fascinating. This season, which she begins at such a low ebb, has given us an opportunity to dig beneath the surface and explore her vulnerability.”
“Lydia is a villain, yes, she's an absolute horror - but she's so much more,” she says, adding, “Lydia is indestructible.”
Buffini and Alison Newman, who have been friends since they were in Youth Theatre, worked on the script for ‘Harlots’, inspired by ‘Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies’ over many months of researching the Georgian world and working out the stories of the characters.
“The wheel of fortune turned so fast for these women. I saw them as dancing on the edge of an abyss and that seemed to me a very exciting thing to write. It's great that this is a project born out of friendship,” says Buffini.
Season 3 episode 2 of ‘Harlots’ airs on Wednesday, July 17.