Bridgerton

Netflix's fresh and youthful period drama arrives with a black Queen Charlotte, an array of pop songs and a string of sex scenes. Sophia Savage reports.

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Netflix’s exciting new period blockbuster Bridgerton represents the first fruits of a headline grabbing £120 million pound deal with Shonda Rhimes’ Shandaland production company. With such a price tag attached, the series not surprisingly comes with quite a bit of expectation, but from what we’ve heard, the show more than lives up to the hype.

Jane Austen it certainly isn’t, however. The series contains generous helpings of sex, modern day pop songs, and a black actress Queen Charlotte.

Indeed, for a period piece, the show is impressively diverse, with several ethnic minority actors included in the production. Bridgerton author Quinn says of the decision to cast such a diverse group of actors: “Bridgerton isn’t a history lesson; it’s a show for a modern audience,”

So, if you’re tired of Jane Austen adaptations and you’re yearn for something fresh and original, here’s everything you could possibly need to know about Netflix’s latest blockbuster:

What’s Bridgerton about?

Based on a series of romance novels by Julia Quinn, the series follows the oh so naïve debutante Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), as she strives to secure a suitable partner. Egged on by her marriage obsessed mother, Daphne embarks on a romance with the mysterious, commitment phobic Duke of Hastings, Simon.  

Inspired in part by the legendary 18th century poet Lord Bryon, Bridgerton’s Duke of Hasting is portrayed as a brooding, enigmatic figure. “You have this beautiful, shadowy, broken, thoroughly complex man, who is as glamorous as we all wish we were on the outside,” says Dynevor. “But [he’s] trying to figure out who he is.”

Who’s starring in Bridgerton?

The series boasts a massive ensemble cast including Polly Walker (Line Of Duty) as Lady Portia Featherington, Phoebe Dynevor (Waterloo Road, Prisoner’s Wives) as Daphne Bridgerton, and Julie Andrews (The Sound Of Music) no less as the anonymous narrator.

In addition, Nicola Coughlan (Derry Girls) features as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton appears as Colin Bridgerton and Jonathan Bailey (W1A) plays his older sibling, the head of the household, Anthony Bridgerton.

The series has also snagged Comedian Ben Miller (Johnny English, Death in Paradise) who plays the part of the lecherous Lord Featherington.

The big talking point, however, is the show’s colour blind casting. Bridgerton imagines a British aristocracy where Queen Charlotte is of mixed race. “We try to imagine history and the world in the way we wanted to see it.” says Bridgerton’s Executive Producer Betsy Beers.

So we have Golda Rosheuvel (Silent Witness) as Queen Charlotte, Regé-Jean Page playing the Duke of Hastings and Adjoa Andoh (Doctor Who) as Lady Danbury.

The positing of a racially mixed Charlotte is intriguing on another level too as the real life Queen was long speculated to be of mixed parentage.

Pop songs? In a period piece?!

Yep, you heard correct. The show will feature classical arrangements of popular songs with Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, next,” and Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood” among the tracks included in the soundtrack.

…and sex scenes?!

Please don’t faint, but yes, Bridgerton contains several sex scenes, too. The show even has its own ‘intimacy coordinator’. Bridgerton isn’t messing about, either. Within the first 10 minutes of the opening episode we are already in someone’s boudoir.

Phoebe Dynevor(Daphne) is adamant that the sex in the show is integral to the story, however. “It wasn’t gratuitous” she says. “It was so essential in Daphne’s journey and sexual awakening. I love the fact that it is very much the female gaze.”

Where was Bridgerton filmed?

Principal photography on the series was carried out in London and Bath in late 2019.

When will the show premiere on Netflix?

Bridgerton will be released on Netflix on Christmas Day 2020.

More information about Netflix’s Bridgerton can be found here.

For information on other forthcoming television programmes, please click here.

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-London's Best Events-
What: new period drama
When: 25 Dec 2020
Where: Netflix
Website: Bridgerton