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Maison Close

Maison Close

Fri Jun 21, 10-11pm, Sky Arts 1

By Gabriel Tate
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Series two, episode one

It’s all about Canal Plus at the moment. ‘The Returned’ and ‘Spiral’ are hoovering up discerning viewers, ‘Bracquo’ continues on Fox and Sky Arts is on to the second series of this nineteenth-century costumer set in a Parisian brothel. The tone swings from brutal to burlesque, but the performances are excellent and the grubby bordello vividly imagined – just as well, as most of the action takes place there.

We rejoin the girls in 1873: they’re now running the brothel as a collective and positively thriving in the face of an increasingly censorious Parisian administration. But every series needs an antagonist, and in Louis Mosca, ‘Maison Close’ may have found one to place alongside the horrifyingly debauched tag team of Pierre and Blondin in the first series. This charming rogue talks his way into the confidence of the girls by offering to provide both physical and financial ‘security’. Too good to be true, we suspect, but he looks like a lipsmackingly worthy foe. Aux armes, then.

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