Mediacorp has finally dropped its first M18 drama Last Madame yesterday (Sept 26).

The 12-part, half-hour English-language serial stars Joanne Peh as Fung Lan, the mama-san of a whorehouse in pre-WWII Singapore. In a separate timeline set in the present, Fiona Fussi plays her great-granddaughter who chances upon her forebear’s hustling legacy.

The show also stars Lina Ng, Brandon Wong and newcomer Jeff Chou. It’s rated M18 — restricted to persons aged 18 and above — for “mature themes”. One reason for the higher age classification is that it contains a buzzy sex scene between Fung Lan and a cop, played by Jeff.  

Joanne’s performance as the harlot-herder is so emotionally challenging and such a departure from her earlier roles that she took to Instagram to explain what she went through for the part. “It was such a big step for me as an actress to go bare in front of the production crew and my fellow actor,” she wrote. “But I decided to do this because the context of the story and character motivations were fully justified.”

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Thank you @ijeffchou for your bravery and dedication. You are an angel! ❤❤ . . . #Repost @ijeffchou • • • • • • Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except the mind - Dale Carnegie Nobody wants to have their most private moments exposed - least of all for it to be captured on film! My first time filming this intimate scene with @joannepeh was nerve-racking and I felt incredibly vulnerable. We needed a balance of making the scene look believable, but also respecting the cast and crew working on the project. Asking us to bare it all for the screen was a big deal - but we believed in the vision and wanted to take the story deeper to tell how two people could learn to love under impossible conditions. I preoccupied myself with workouts to stay in shape while juggling a busy filming schedule - in the end, it was my mindset that needed to be changed. Thank you to Joanne for your patience & trust, and I’m grateful to @ochrepictures for this opportunity to push me beyond my comfort zone and grow past my fears. Swipe 👉🏼 to see more 😬 Link to binge watch all the episodes!

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