‘Fleabag’ season 2 will be ‘something completely different’

Phoebe Waller-Bridge talks about second series of her hit BBC show

Fleabag star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge has discussed a second season for the hit show.

The show aired on BBC Three last summer, adapted from Waller-Bridge’s play of the same name. It was later picked up by Amazon Video in the US.

Speaking to Variety about plans for a second season, Waller-Bridge said: “I was told in the first place to keep things open at the end of the season. But [Fleabag’s] arc closes off, and the relationship between her and the audience ends. So when it first came up about doing another season, I was like ‘No way. I can’t see a way back in, and I don’t want to milk it. I don’t want to flog it.’ But then Amazon gave me a little time to think about it, and then just one day I’m on a bus and just was like ‘Hold on, I think I’ve found a new way in’.”

She added of what to expect from the new episodes: “The promise I made is that it will be something completely different. It will still be her and her story, but in a completely different time of her life. You know how parts of your life feel different to you, when you look back nostalgically? I just sort of felt like that series should just feel like a stage in her life when that happened. And then I’m gonna go into a new stage in her life, so there’ll be a whole new structure and story and everything. I think I’ve found a way to do it.”

Of her reluctance to pursue a follow-up season, Waller-Bridge explained: “I kept saying to myself: ‘Are you going to regret not doing it? Which one are you gonna regret more — not doing it or doing it?’ Cos if I fuck it up, at least I had a go. There’s so much material that I was trying to get into season one that didn’t fit in that story, but there’s still loads of material that I could see working with her. So I’m just gonna see what pops out.”

“I keep telling myself — at the beginning of the process and thinking about doing a second season, I kept telling myself it would be braver not to do a second season. And now I’m starting to think, ‘Fuck it, no. It’s braver to do one!… To take the risk.’ And fuck it, you’ve just gotta throw it all at the wall. What if it’s great? My God, I hope it is.”

With it suggest that the character of Fleabag can “only lie to the audience for so long”, Waller-Bridge replied: “Yeah, which is why a second season is probably a really terrible idea… it would feel disingenuous to be looking at the camera again and being like, all eyebrow-y, and shit ‘cause once you’ve seen through her… it was so funny. This friend of mine said I should start the season with her looking at the camera and going, ‘So I had this other friend’. Which was just like a perfect joke in itself, I wish I’d come up with it myself. But even that is too knowing.”

Explaining the show’s title, Waller-Bridge said: “It’s kind of my nickname. My family nickname. Flea ears, or occasionally Fleabag. And when I was trying to find a title for the show, my mum phoned me and referred to me as Fleabag on the phone and I was like, oh shit. Shit, that’s it, it’s my name.”

Waller-Bridge picked up the BAFTA for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme earlier this month (May 14). Fleabag was also named Best TV Series at the 2017 NME Awards in February.

Accepting her NME Award, Waller-Bridge said: “Wow – fucking hell. This is literally the closest a sit-com writer could be to being a rockstar. My sister wrote all the music for the show so big up to her. Thank you so much to all of the musicians I listen to for inspiration. I couldn’t write without music so this is actually a really heartfelt thank you for doing everything you do to help what we do.”