Phoebe Waller-Bridge: It was empowering to show women being violent

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge says viewers are tired of seeing women being “brutalised” on the small screen.

The writer said it was “refreshing” to depict violent women in her other TV hit, Killing Eve.

She told The Andrew Marr Show: “I think people are slightly exhausted by seeing women being brutalised on screen.

Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer, in Killing Eve (Aimee Spinks/BBC America)

“We’re being allowed to see women on slabs the whole time and being beaten up, and in some ways that’s important to see because it shows the brutality against women.

“Seeing women being violent, the flipside of that is refreshing and oddly empowering.”

BBC3 drama Killing Eve, starring Jodie Comer as a psychopathic killer and Sandra Oh as an MI5 operative, is set to return for a second series.

Waller-Bridge said of the dark thriller: “Strangely, there’s hardly any blood, there’s hardly any gruesomeness that we were allowed to show.

She added: “There’s a man on the slab but no bits on show. We have just as much respect the other way around!

“BBC America, the original channel, said we couldn’t have that much blood on show, we couldn’t be too grotesque.

“The challenge was to make it feel very violent without actually showing anything. That’s a very different experience for the audience.”

Shows such as Luther have been criticised for their depictions of violence against women.

Waller-Bridge told the BBC One show she had “always had a penchant for the outrageous end of humour”.

Her Fleabag alter ego makes comments that “don’t align with the message” such as she would “take two years off her life to have a hot body”.

The writer said of feminism: “There are so many potholes in the road, it’s kind of frightening and you want to be able to say the right things.”