Let’s just get this straight: the world did not deserve the masterpiece that was Fleabag. Bestowed upon us by the incredible Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the “tragicomedy” was everything we ever wanted out of a TV show and more – evidenced by the fact we’re still talking about it a year after the final episode aired.
However, we’ve taken one key fact about the award-winning series at face value – although we’ve noticed that, unlike her sister Claire, Waller-Bridge’s lovable but oh-so-flawed protagonist isn’t given a real name (neither are the Hot Priest or Horrible God Mother), we’ve never known where the name ‘Fleabag’ actually came from… until now.
Appearing on This Morning to talk about her decision to release the stage version of Fleabag online, Waller-Bridge revealed exactly where the name Fleabag actually comes from – and why it’s so apt for her character.
“Do you know what? I struggle to describe what a fleabag is,” she says. “Fleabag and Flea were my nickname when I was younger, so I try to hold onto the positive connotations.”
She continued: “A fleabag motel is rough around the edges and a bit of a mess. I wanted to call her that – I wanted her persona and outside aesthetic to show that she’s in control of her life when in reality she’s not.”
Explaining why she decided to release the recording of the stage version of Fleabag – which she performed on the West End last year – Waller Bridge said it was “incredible” to have something she could use to raise money.
“This is a really scary moment for a lot of people I know, friends and people who worked on Fleabag. So it’s incredible to have something like this in our back pocket to bring out and raise money.
“I thought Fleabag was done, I’d put Fleabag to sleep and thought ‘she’s gone now’. But in some ways, she’s sneaked her way back in.”
The money raised by the performance will be split between a number of charities supporting those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including NHS Charities Together and The Fleabag Support Fund, which aims to provide financial aid to freelancers working in theatre, comedy and cabaret.
The stage version of Fleabag is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.