Fleabag (TV Series 2016–2019)

TVSeries


Fleabag (TV Series 2016–2019)

A dry-witted woman, known only as Fleabag, has no filter as she navigates life and love in London while trying to cope with tragedy. The angry, grief-riddled woman tries to heal while rejecting anyone who tries to help her, but Fleabag continues to keep up her bravado through it all. Comic actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge stars as the titular character on the series, which is based on Waller-Bridge's 2013 one-woman show of the same name.
UK
IMDb   8.7 /10
Metacritic   92 %
TheMovieDb    8.2 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   7.8 /10
Creators
Creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Information
Release Date2016-07-21
Runtime27mins
GenreComedy, Drama
Content RatingTV-MA (TV-MA)
AwardsTop Rated TV #90 | Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 53 wins & 62 nominations.
CompanyTwo Brothers Pictures
CountryUK
LanguageEnglish
Fleabag 12 episodes, 2016-2019
Claire 12 episodes, 2016-2019
Godmother 9 episodes, 2016-2019
Boo 9 episodes, 2016-2019
Dad 9 episodes, 2016-2019
Martin 7 episodes, 2016-2019
The Priest 6 episodes, 2019
Harry 6 episodes, 2016-2019
Arsehole Guy 5 episodes, 2016-2019

Fleabag

Fleabag is a British comedy-drama television series created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on her one-woman show first performed in 2013. It was originally produced by Two Brothers Pictures for digital channel BBC Three in a co-production agreement with Amazon Studios. Waller-Bridge stars as the title character, a free-spirited and sexually active but angry and confused young woman in London. Sian Clifford also stars, while Andrew Scott joined the cast in the second series. The protagonist frequently breaks the fourth wall to provide exposition, internal monologues, and a running commentary to the audience.

The show premiered on 21 July 2016 and concluded its second and final series on 8 April 2019. It received widespread acclaim from critics, particularly for its writing, acting, and the uniqueness and personality of the title character. Waller-Bridge won the British Academy Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for the first series. The second series received 11 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won six, with Waller-Bridge earning Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series; additional acting nominations were received by Clifford, Olivia Colman, and guest stars Fiona Shaw and Kristin Scott Thomas. The series received the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series and Best Actress for Waller-Bridge, and a nomination for Scott.


Background

The show is adapted from Waller-Bridge's 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe one-woman play of the same name which won a Fringe First Award. The initial idea of the character of Fleabag came from a challenge by a friend, where Waller-Bridge was given the task of creating a sketch for a 10-minute section in a stand-up storytelling night.


Cast and characters

Main

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag (although never named in the script)
  • Sian Clifford as Claire, Fleabag's sister
  • Andrew Scott as the priest, with whom Fleabag falls in love (series 2)

Recurring

  • Olivia Colman as Fleabag and Claire's godmother, who began a relationship with their father not long after their mother's death and eventually became their stepmother
  • Bill Paterson as father of Fleabag and Claire
  • Brett Gelman as Martin, Claire's husband
  • Hugh Skinner as Harry, Fleabag's ex-boyfriend
  • Hugh Dennis as Bank Manager, approached by Fleabag for a loan
  • Ben Aldridge as Arsehole Guy, one of Fleabag's love interests
  • Jenny Rainsford as Boo, Fleabag's deceased best friend and business partner
  • Angus Imrie as Jake, Martin's teenage son and Claire's step-son

Guest

  • Jamie Demetriou as Bus Rodent, one of Fleabag's love interests (series 1)
  • Fiona Shaw as Fleabag's counsellor (series 2)
  • Kristin Scott Thomas as Belinda, a successful businesswoman who meets Fleabag at an awards ceremony presented by Claire (series 2)
  • Ray Fearon as Hot Misogynist, who serves as Fleabag's lawyer and one of her love interests (series 2)
  • Christian Hillborg as Klare, Claire's Finnish business partner and love interest (series 2)
  • Jo Martin as Pam, who works at the priest's church (series 2)

Episodes

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1621 July 201625 August 2016
264 March 20198 April 2019

Series 1 (2016)

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Episode 1"Tim KirkbyPhoebe Waller-Bridge21 July 2016
Fleabag has a one-night stand with Arsehole Guy, before picking up another man on the bus, Bus Rodent, to whom she recounts how she split from her regular boyfriend, Harry. After being refused a business loan by Bank Manager for her failing café, she meets and argues with her high-achieving sister, Claire, at a feminist lecture. She visits her father and godmother, from whose home studio she steals a sculpture of a woman's torso. On a taxi ride home, she recounts how her best friend Boo (with whom she started the café) accidentally killed herself after her boyfriend cheated on her.
22"Episode 2"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge28 July 2016
Fleabag tries to sell the stolen statue to Claire's art dealer husband, Martin. She runs into Arsehole Guy, but the awkward sex that ensues makes her run back to her emotionally fragile, on-and-off boyfriend, Harry. Harry leaves her for good, however, after she scares him in the shower, and after he discovers that she has been lying about giving up masturbation.
33"Episode 3"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge4 August 2016
Fleabag helps Martin buy a present for Claire, who is organising her own surprise birthday party. She reconnects with Bus Rodent and takes him to the party. To Fleabag's shock, Martin gifts the stolen sculpture to Claire. Later, a drunken Martin attempts to kiss Fleabag, but is rebuffed.
44"Episode 4"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge11 August 2016
Courtesy of their father, Fleabag and Claire reluctantly visit a female-only silent retreat, where they frequently break the rule of silence. Fleabag admits to Claire that she stole the sculpture, and Claire asks her to return it. At the retreat, Fleabag runs into Bank Manager, who is attending a neighbouring workshop following a sexual harassment scandal at work. The two bond over their shared unhappiness. Claire reveals that she has been promoted to a lucrative position in Finland, but considers turning it down for the sake of her family. Fleabag attempts to persuade her to take the job by telling her of Martin's behaviour at the party.
55"Episode 5"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge18 August 2016
On the anniversary of their mother's death, Fleabag and Claire return to their family home for the annual memorial lunch. Fleabag takes the opportunity to restore the sculpture to her godmother's studio. Things get heated, and plans are being made for her "sex-hibition". Claire re-steals the sculpture for Fleabag, after which Fleabag rekindles her relationship with Arsehole Guy.
66"Episode 6"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge25 August 2016
Fleabag goes to the "sex-hibition", and finds that she was invited to act as a waitress; she makes a scene in response. She is dumped by Arsehole Guy, and then discovers that Harry has a new girlfriend. To Fleabag's surprise, Claire has turned down the Finland offer and decides to stay with Martin, who has convinced her that Fleabag made the move at the party. Their confrontation triggers a flashback, revealing that Fleabag was the woman with whom Boo's boyfriend cheated. After being turned away by her father, a heartbroken and guilt-ridden Fleabag contemplates suicide, but is stopped by Bank Manager, who happens to pass by. After listening to her confession, Bank Manager decides to offer her another shot at the business loan for the café.

Series 2 (2019)

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
71"Episode 1"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge4 March 2019
Having cut ties with her family and taking steps to improve her life after the events of series one, Fleabag returns after one year to join an uncomfortable family dinner, celebrating her father's engagement. She finds herself intrigued by the priest, who is to officiate at the wedding. Claire has a miscarriage during the dinner but refuses to inform anyone or seek medical help. Fleabag covers for her by claiming the miscarriage. Martin's flippant attitude angers Fleabag, who initiates a fight with him. The sisters proceed to go to hospital in a cab.
82"Episode 2"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge11 March 2019
To Claire's surprise, Fleabag's café is now a thriving business. The sisters visit their family, where Fleabag is once again treated dismissively by their step-mother to be. Claire reveals that Martin is planning to press charges against Fleabag for assault, but she arranges legal counsel for Fleabag. Fleabag goes to a counselling session, which affirms her desire for the priest. She connects with him, helps him out at a garden party and attempts to flirt with him.
93"Episode 3"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge18 March 2019
Fleabag helps with an award event at Claire's work, where she discovers Claire's crush on a Finnish colleague, Klare. The event almost ends in disaster but Fleabag manages to salvage the situation. Claire remains angry at her nonetheless. Fleabag has a profound conversation with Claire's co-worker Belinda at a bar. She continues to flirt with the priest, but he remains unwilling to violate his vows of celibacy. In a moment of metafiction, the priest begins to notice Fleabag breaking the fourth wall.
104"Episode 4"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge25 March 2019
The priest and Fleabag's pleasant day together ends on an unhappy note when she rebuffs his attempt at getting to know her more and helping with her troubles. She looks back on her painful memories of her mother's funeral. At night, Fleabag goes to pray at the church, where she meets the drunken priest and they establish a closer bond. After Fleabag's confession, they succumb to a moment of passion but the priest has second thoughts and is unable to carry through.
115"Episode 5"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge1 April 2019
The priest informs the family that he is no longer able to officiate at the wedding, before telling Fleabag not to visit his church again. Claire falls into a state of panic after having second thoughts about her new haircut. Fleabag comforts her and Claire is further reassured when Klare declares he loves her new look. Fleabag covers for Claire and argues with Martin, who is concerned that Claire is considering leaving him. Fleabag gets a visit from the priest, who reveals his feelings for her are more than physical. The two have sex, and Fleabag pushes the audience away.
126"Episode 6"Harry BradbeerPhoebe Waller-Bridge8 April 2019
On the day of the wedding, Fleabag and the priest wake up together. At the garden wedding, Fleabag returns the stolen sculpture to her godmother, who reveals the figure was based on Fleabag's mother. Claire reveals to Martin the truth about her miscarriage, before begging him to leave her. Fleabag persuades Claire to go after Klare and helps her father through the wedding. After the ceremony, the priest and Fleabag admit their love for each other at a bus stop, but he has chosen faith over her. The two break up on amicable terms. Fleabag sees a fox and points it towards the priest. She then walks away, leaving the audience behind at the bus stop.

Distribution and broadcast

BBC Three was the original broadcast channel for the show with a repeat run broadcast on BBC Two between 21 August and 25 September 2016. The second series was broadcast on BBC One at the same time as being released on BBC Three, by this time only available online.

It was picked up by the on-demand Amazon Prime Video (formerly Amazon Video) service and premiered in the United States on 16 September 2016. Fleabag is also available on IFC in the US. In the Netherlands, it was picked up by Net5.

The show has been remade for French television by Jeanne Herry. Titled Mouche (French for 'fly', the insect), it started airing on 3 June 2019 on pay channel Canal+. Mouche is a close remake, though set in Paris with Camille Cottin in the starring role.


Reception

Critical response

Both series of Fleabag received widespread acclaim from television critics. At review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, both series received approval ratings of 100%. The first series received an average rating of 8.5/10, based on 40 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading: "Clever and viciously funny, Fleabag is a touching, wildly inventive comedy about a complicated young woman navigating the aftermath of trauma." The second series received an average rating of 9.32/10, based on 95 reviews, with the critical consensus stating: "Fleabag jumps back into the fray with a bracing second season that upholds its predecessors' frenzied wit and delicate heart, replete with Phoebe Waller-Bridge's indefatigable charisma". At Metacritic, the first series received a weighted average score of 88 out of 100, based on 19 critics, while the second series received a score of 96, based on 21 critics, both signifying "universal acclaim".

Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker described the first series as "a precision black-humor mechanism, a warped and affecting fable about one single woman's existence." Maureen Ryan at Variety called it "scathingly funny", concluding that "long after it’s pulled you in with its irreverence and jokes about sex, and beguiled you with its cutting wit and messily human characters, it reveals that it’s actually a tragedy". Hank Stuever of The Washington Post characterised it as a "funny, highly profane but surprisingly poignant dramedy". Mike Hale in The New York Times praised the show for its "restless, almost feral energy and its slap-in-the-face attitude." Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times commended its unpredictability, acting, and "clear eye for truth that often becomes, like all good comedy, quite devastating".

Serena Davies of The Daily Telegraph lauded the second series as "a near-perfect work of art". Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon praised its "brilliant swan song", finding the series's conclusion satisfying and "well-earned". For Rolling Stone, Alan Sepinwall wrote that the "tragicomic masterpiece reaches new heights in its second outing". James Poniewozik of The New York Times wrote that "the new season feels immediately confident, if inevitably less groundbreaking. Yet it continues to push its form". Hannah Jane Parkinson of The Guardian described the conclusion as "the most electrifying, devastating TV in years", writing of the second series that "it seems as though many who either did not watch the first series, or who didn’t think it lived up to the hype, have been converted".

According to Metacritic's aggregate of decade-end lists, Fleabag was the second-highest ranked show of the 2010s. In 2019, it was ranked 8th on The Guardian's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century.

Former United States President Barack Obama named the second series of Fleabag among his favourite films and television series of 2019. In his annual list, which he released on Twitter on 29 December 2019, he added a small addendum with the title, "and a quick list of TV shows that I considered as powerful as movies: Fleabag: Season 2, Unbelievable, and Watchmen.

Accolades

Award nominations for Fleabag
YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
Series 1
2016Broadcast AwardsBest Comedy ProgrammeFleabagNominated
Best Original ProgrammeWon
Best Multichannel ProgrammeWon
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Comedy SeriesNominated
Best Actress in a Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
2017British Academy Television AwardsBest Scripted ComedyFleabagNominated
Best Female Performance in a Comedy ProgrammeOlivia ColmanNominated
Phoebe Waller-BridgeWon
British Academy Television Craft AwardsBest Editing: FictionGary DollnerNominated
Best Writer: ComedyPhoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Breakthrough Talent AwardNominated
Broadcasting Press Guild AwardsBest WriterWon
Dorian AwardsUnsung TV Show of the YearFleabagNominated
Gold Derby AwardsBest Comedy SeriesNominated
Best Comedy ActressPhoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Best Comedy Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Golden Nymph AwardsBest TV Comedy SeriesFleabagWon
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Gotham Independent Film AwardsBreakthrough Series – Long FormFleabagNominated
NME AwardsBest TV SeriesWon
Rockie AwardsBest Comedy Series – English LanguageWon
Royal Television Society AwardsBest Writing – ComedyPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
BreakthroughWon
Television Critics Association AwardsOutstanding Achievement in ComedyFleabagNominated
Individual Achievement in ComedyPhoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Writers' Guild of Great Britain AwardsBest TV Situation ComedyFleabag (for "Episode 1")Won
Series 2
2019Gold Derby AwardsBest Comedy SeriesFleabagWon
Best Comedy ActressPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Best Comedy Supporting ActorAndrew ScottWon
Best Comedy Supporting ActressOlivia ColmanNominated
Best Comedy Guest ActressFiona ShawNominated
Best Comedy Episode of the YearHarry Bradbeer and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (for "Episode 1")Won
Harry Bradbeer and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (for "Episode 6")Nominated
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-Bridge, Harry Bradbeer, Lydia Hampson, Harry Williams, Jack Williams, Joe Lewis and Sarah HammondWon
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-Bridge (for "Episode 1")Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesSian Clifford (for "Episode 3")Nominated
Olivia Colman (for "Episode 4")Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy SeriesHarry Bradbeer (for "Episode 1")Won
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-Bridge (for "Episode 1")Won
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy SeriesKristin Scott Thomas (for "Episode 3")Nominated
Fiona Shaw (for "Episode 2")Nominated
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy SeriesOlivia Scott-WebbWon
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour)Tony Miller (for "Episode 1")Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy SeriesGary Dollner (for "Episode 1")Won
Satellite AwardsBest Musical or Comedy SeriesFleabagWon
Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV FilmAndrew ScottNominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV FilmOlivia ColmanWon
Television Critics Association AwardsProgram of the YearFleabagWon
Outstanding Achievement in ComedyWon
Individual Achievement in ComedyPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
2020Art Directors Guild AwardsExcellence in Production Design for a Half-Hour Single-Camera SeriesJonathan Paul Green (for "Episode 5")Nominated
British Academy Television AwardsBest Scripted ComedyFleabagNominated
Best Female Performance in a Comedy ProgrammeSian CliffordWon
Phoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Virgin TV's Must-See Moment"The Confessional Scene"Nominated
British Academy Television Craft AwardsBest Director: FictionHarry BradbeerNominated
Best Editing: FictionGary DollnerNominated
Best Writer: ComedyPhoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Cinema Audio Society AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – Half HourChristian Bourne, David Drake and James Gregory (for "Episode 6")Won
Costume Designers Guild AwardsExcellence in Contemporary TelevisionRay Holman (for "Episode 2")Nominated
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Comedy SeriesFleabagWon
Best Actress in a Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesAndrew ScottWon
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesSian CliffordNominated
Dorian AwardsTV Comedy of the YearFleabagWon
TV Performance of the Year—ActressPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Golden Globe AwardsBest Television Series – Musical or ComedyFleabagWon
Best Actress – Television Series Musical or ComedyPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmAndrew ScottNominated
Peabody AwardsEntertainmentFleabagWon
Producers Guild of America AwardsOutstanding Producer of Episodic Television – ComedyPhoebe Waller-Bridge, Harry Bradbeer, Lydia Hampson, Harry Williams, Jack Williams, Joe Lewis and Sarah HammondWon
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesSian Clifford, Olivia Colman, Brett Gelman, Bill Paterson, Andrew Scott and Phoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesAndrew ScottNominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesPhoebe Waller-BridgeWon
Live show
2020Laurence Olivier AwardsBest Entertainment or Comedy PlayFleabagNominated
Best ActressPhoebe Waller-BridgeNominated
Notes:
  1. ^ Tied with Barry.

Music

Waller-Bridge's sister, Isobel Waller-Bridge, composed the music for both series.


Home media

Home media releases for Fleabag
SeriesEpisodesRelease dateAdditionalRef(s)
Region 2 DVD (UK)Region B Blu-ray (UK)Region 4 DVD (AU)
163 October 201615 October 201828 March 2018

Distributor

  • Dazzler Media (UK)
  • ABC DVD (Australia)

Information

  • 1 disc (DVD & Blu-ray)
  • 153 minutes
  • 16:9 (2.35:1)
  • 16:9 (cropped 1.78:1) (Australia)
  • Dolby Digital 2.0 (DVD)
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Blu-ray)
  • English subtitles (SDH)

Rating

  • BBFC: 15
  • ACB: MA15+
266 May 2019TBA

Distributor

  • Dazzler Media (UK)

Information

  • 1 disc (DVD & Blu-ray)
  • 150 minutes
  • 16:9 (2.35:1)
  • Dolby Digital 2.0 (DVD)
  • LPCM 2.0 (Blu-ray)
  • English subtitles (SDH)

Rating

  • BBFC: 15
1 & 2126 May 2019TBA
  • 2-disc set (DVD & Blu-ray)
  • 303 minutes

See individual release for all other information