SERIES PREMIERE: This new series, set in London in the late 1700s, tells of a scrappy, social-climbing madam, played by Samantha Morton, whose two daughters represent different strata on the 18th
century flesh-trade scale. One is played by Jessica Brown-Findlay (pictured), who recently played Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey.
The premiere episode sets up two competing houses of ill repute and a lot of political, sexual and financial intrigue – similar to the dynamics laid out, so to speak, in HBO’s Deadwood.
And here, though it takes a while, the characters get fleshed out in more ways than one – and Morton’s performance is worth watching just to hear her occasionally cockney cackle, more of a bray than a laugh, and nailing her character completely without saying a word. For full reviews, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower
and Ed Bark's Uncle Barky Bytes