Fleabag season two has been given a premiere date as writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge revealed she came “very close” to not bringing her dark comedy show back.
Waller-Bridge plays the title role in Fleabag, which will add Dame Kristin Scott Thomas and Fiona Shaw to a cast already boasting Oscar-nominated Olivia Colman.
The second season of the critically acclaimed programme, a co-production between Amazon Studios and the BBC, will debut on May 17.
Speaking at a Television Critics Association panel in Pasadena, California, on Wednesday, Waller-Bridge revealed she initially had no plans to return for a second season.
She said she took “great pride in my artistic integrity” to not come back but her mind changed when she thought about the story for a returning season.
While Waller-Bridge has so far ruled out a season three, she admitted she “may be surprised again”.
“There’s something driving it with this character”, she said.
Waller-Bridge, who also wrote and produced BBC America’s hit spy drama Killing Eve, adapted Fleabag from a one-woman show she first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Speaking about the show’s growth since then, she said: “The fun of starting from an acorn is it’s so surprising when a new branch pops out from the tree.”
Waller-Bridge also discussed Dame Kristin’s role, though remained tight-lipped on the specifics of her character.
She said her character has a “great impact” on Fleabag, and said asking Dame Kristin to appear was a moment when you had “to reach for the stars”.
“I couldn’t believe it when she came back and said ‘yes’,” Waller-Bridge added.
She also praised Dame Kristin’s “creative integrity” and said the idea of the esteemed actress enjoying and laughing at the first season “filled me with all sorts of joy”.
Set a year after the first series, Fleabag’s second instalment begins with a religious encounter which alters the thinking of the lead character.
Waller-Bridge said of the theme: “I felt like it really resonated with me, an atheist trying to find meaning in the world where everything was so confusing.”
The series will see her once again grapple with her fraught personal relationships, including with her godmother, played by Colman.
Season two will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on May 17.