Created by Oliver Lansley, ‘Flack’ is a British drama–comedy series that revolves around the female anti-hero Robyn and tries to explore the celebrity culture from the perspective of a PR executive. While Robyn’s own life is a mess, she is hired by her influential and affluent clients who wish to cover up their monumental mistakes and come out of exceptionally horrible circumstances unscathed. Although she is very skilled at what she does, Robyn has quite paradoxically failed to do anything about her personal life.
On a deeper level, her problem probably stems from a lack of affection in childhood, and there are certainly some wounds that are still open that often make her reckless. Robyn’s heartbreaking, hilarious and relatable journey has resonated with a lot of viewers who may wonder about the show’s origin. So, is the dramedy series inspired by people in the PR and entertainment industry or not? Let’s find out.
Is Flack Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Flack’ is not based on a true story. However, one must not presume that the series is devoid of similarities with real life. People who love the show can relate to the personal struggles of the characters. At first glance, they may seem eccentric, but all of them have fears and issues we often find ourselves in. Therefore, it is not surprising that the creator Oliver Lansley himself has admitted that most of his ideas for the show come from observing the world around him.
In an interview, Lansley explained that people often come to him thinking that they know who in particular has inspired a character in the show. However, Lansley uses this as an opportunity to listen to what they have to say, which eventually gives him ideas for future episodes or seasons. He summed up his approach by saying, “The truth is, all the ideas for stories come from a seed of truth, a person or rumor (or an outright piece of gossip) I heard during my research wining and dining with the great and good of the PR world, but none of the characters is a direct representation of any one person.”
The desire to finally see a female anti-hero on the screen was at the root of Lansley’s motivation to develop ‘Flack.’ The creation of the series was put into motion several years before the premiere of the show’s first season. Back in 2013, when Lansley conceived the pilot for Channel 4, he only wanted to dig deeper into the skepticism and the sordid underside of the celebrity culture and world of tabloid magazines; he was unaware of what he was getting himself into at the time.
As Lansley’s consciousness about PR evolved, the show turned far more sinister than the creator had imagined. The idea that initially focused on tabloid magazines became a series about PR. Speaking about the show’s origins, Lansley said, “I remember being given a book called Difficult Men about male showrunners and their remarkable male creations, from Don Draper to Tony Soprano. I told Mark I wanted to write a character that could feature on the cover of the book Difficult Women.”
The creator also added, “There are many pitfalls when trying to create a show embedded in celebrity culture. By necessity, it has to be relevant and current, while also being, frankly, quite rude at times.” Therefore, it seems that Lansley was quite aware of the challenges in the way. Despite them, he went ahead with the project as it really resonated with him, and he wanted to explore something that has probably never been done in the television industry.
So far, Lansley’s originality appears to have done wonders for him, as the series has garnered the attention of viewers around the world. Just like Lansley is not a big fan of taking inspiration from someone in particular to evolve his characters, Anna Paquin, who plays Robyn, has a somewhat similar mindset when it comes to acting. The actress confessed in an interview that she does not prefer limiting her characters to any one person and instead just focuses on one page of the script at a time.
In case there is a need for feedback or some clarification, Anna usually reaches out to the creators instead. So, not just from the writer’s perspective, the characters we see in the dramedy series are also not based on one particular person. Taking everything into account, we can infer that ‘Flack’ is not inspired by a true story, and is a creation of the creator Oliver Lansley’s artistic imagination.
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