You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fleabag’ Director Breaks Down Pivotal Tate ‘Sexhibition’ Shoot

For a story that revolves around sex, it’s fitting that the final episode of “Fleabag” unspools at a so-called “sexhibition.” There, among such artifacts as a “wall of cocks” and a life-size naked plaster cast of Fleabag’s ex-boyfriend, the hapless Harry, Fleabag’s wicked godmother, played by Olivia Colman, cuts loose. Director Harry Bradbeer says Colman’s character was indulging in a huge ego trip by mounting a “sexhibition” to humiliate Fleabag.
“She’s spent a great deal of Fleabag’s father’s money on this vanity project,” he says. “The sexhibition is a collection of articles which are there to commemorate her sexual life, and the power she has over the Fleabag character,” played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Filming the sequence on location at London’s Tate Modern art gallery during an early summer’s day and night presented Bradbeer with numerous difficulties, but his colleagues all excelled.

Ian Hutchinson
Location Manager
“Ian worked very hard to land the location,” Bradbeer says. “It was the top floor of the Tate Modern overlooking the river Thames with fantastic views of St. Paul’s cathedral, an iconic London landmark. It had natural brightness which cut against the darkness of the story. So the location was a great metaphor for ‘Fleabag’ as a whole.”

Tony Miller
Director of Photography
“Tony’s a genius. A real collaborator, brilliant with actors, and remarkably flexible. He had to shoot at the top of the Tate with very little control over natural light. You can see the sun dropping fast on the last day scene. Tony managed to move like lightning and achieve a fantastic result. The sequence began with Fleabag and Asshole guy coming down the corridor, but the most memorable shots look out through plate glass windows towards St. Paul’s. It’s to Tony’s credit that he can make a scene look as expensive as it did within four days shooting a mixture of day and night-time scenes.”

Jonathan Paul Green
Production Designer
“The wall of cocks was a real tour de force by Jonathan: He had to assemble a collection of dildos which were then cast in clay and arranged on a platform. Phoebe was integral in advising us how she imagined this display. Jonathan then brought his own sense of humor to it.”

David Drake
Sound Mixer
“The room in which the series denouement took place — where Claire, Fleabag’s sister, confronts her with an awful truth — turned out to have two great air-conditioning units which were making a ton of noise. It was awful. Once in the studio, David filtered it out and mixed it brilliantly.”

Gary Dollner
“When you’re making a character piece, you want an editor who knows when not to cut; when you want life to play out as it happens. This worked particularly well with Olivia’s opening speech and in the scene by the river with Asshole Guy. But Gary excelled himself in the denouement with Claire. Here the flashbacks [crucial to ‘Fleabag’] burst into a revelationary climax. For the first time, Fleabag stops talking to the camera and tries to avoid it, triggering a series of traumatic memories. ”

More TV

  • TV Shows to Watch the Week

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of April 22, 2019: 'Gentleman Jack' and the NFL Draft

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Gentleman Jack” debuts on HBO, and “Kobra Kai” season two drops on YouTube [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, has died of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, Emma Stone, Edgar [...]

  • The Iron Throne, which has been

    'Game of Thrones': Six Books for Fans to Read

    As the final season of “Game of Thrones” draws to a close, we’ve found six best-selling books that keep the stories of Westeros and beyond alive. From the original novels that inspired the hit HBO show, to collectible tomes that highlight behind-the-scenes secrets, these books make a great addition to your bookcase, whether you’re a [...]

  • CBS Sports, WNBA Strike TV Deal

    CBS Sports, WNBA Strike TV Deal

    CBS Sports and the WNBA struck a new deal to televise some of the league’s games, widening exposure for professional women’s basketball in the U.S. Under terms of the deal, CBS Sports Network will broadcast 40 live WNBA games in primetime and on weekends, starting Saturday May 25 as the league’s 2019 season gets underway. [...]

  • Robin Roberts Omarosa

    Disney Makes Big Play to Stay in NFL's TV-Football Game

    Robin Roberts is moving this week from mornings on ABC to primetime. And while the shift is temporary, the business machinations behind it are likely to continue. Roberts, best known for her regular appearances on “Good Morning America,” will serve this Thursday as an important presence during two nights of ABC’s coverage of the NFL [...]

  • TV Review: ‘Motown 60: A Grammy

    TV Review: ‘Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration’

    If nothing else, CBS’ “Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration” special alerted America to the continued vitality of Smokey Robinson as a contemporary performer. Ten months from turning 80, the singer’s performances were focused and controlled as he weaved his sultry vocals through classics he wrote — the ballads “The Tracks of My Tears” and “Ooh Baby Baby,” chief among them. Producers [...]

  • Telemundo Has 'Game of Thrones' Hopes

    Telemundo Has 'Game of Thrones' Hopes for 'La Reina del Sur' Season 2 Premiere

    Call it Telemundo’s “Game of Thrones.” The Spanish-language network is hoping for a blockbuster premiere tonight for the long-awaited sophomore season of “La Reina del Sur,” the crime drama starring Kate del Castillo that ranks as Telemundo’s most-watched original series ever. “La Reina” was a massive hit for Telemundo when it aired in early 2011. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content