The beloved, must-see series of our time is returning – in book form.
“When you find somebody that you love, it feels like hope.” And so as the second season of Fleabag came to an end, it was cemented in popular culture. “Bleak but brilliant,” wrote Amanda Cassidy in a succinct roundup of the finale’s heart-wrenching ending.
And to fill the Fleabag-shaped, hot priest hole in our lives, the series creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge offers fans a new way to revisit the show in the form of the book: Fleabag: The Scriptures.
Published on 5 November 2019 by Sceptre, it will feature new writing by Waller-Bridge alongside the complete filming scripts of seasons one and two, including the never-before-seen stage directions.
For those who might think, what’s so great about that? This is something all fans of the original series should devour; to have a script in its entirety reveals crucial tidbits of information, stolen glances, inner-character turmoil that we simply don’t get to witness on screen. It adds another, hidden layer to the entire creation of the show.
“It makes for a rich reading experience, according to Editorial Director Emma Herdman.
A series coming full circle
Like Waller-Bridge’s character, Fleabag’s journey has been full of twists and turns. It made its debut as a one-woman show at Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 before BBC Three snapped it up as a sitcom in 2016. And now its also reverting to its original form – various cinemas in Dublin will show the woman herself take it to the stage on September 12 via special screenings by National Theatre Live. Thanks to its huge popularity, a second, final instalment was broadcast on BBC One.
Following its premiere, earlier this year, it earned 11 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Best Comedy Series and Best Actress for Waller-Bridge.
The series wasn’t without its critics, with some surmising Fleabag as a show “for posh girls”. But Waller-Bridge has defended it, nonetheless, objecting to it being boxed on that basis.
“To criticise a story on the basis of where the author had come from, or how privileged the author is, undermines the story,” she said. “It’s not like my privilege created Fleabag. I created Fleabag, but from a point of place in my life where I was able to sit and write.”
It is worth noting, that I can’t recall a recent series written by a man being subjected to the same arguments. It is standard, should a series written by a woman reach critical acclaim and enter the popular, cultural zeitgeist that critics will look for similar arguments as a way of undermining the creation, an attempt to make it lesser.
The release of the book will see Waller-Bridge use another platform to highlight the brilliance of the show in its original written form.
Fleabag: The Scriptures will be published on 5 November 2019 in hardback and eBook.
Main photograph: Faye Thomas
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