Released on Christmas Day 2020 on Netflix, this 8 episode series of early 19th Century romantic period drama enticed the nation and, didnt disappoint. According to Netflix projections, 63 million viewers tuned in to distract from a Covid-19 Christmas lockdown.
The trailer wasn’t particularly enticing (it felt a bit messy) however, a Period drama set in the Regency Period with the seduction of sex, scandal and gossip (typical of Shonda Rhimes – Producer) was enough to grab my attention.
The show is a perfect blend of Jane Eyre meets Cinderella meets Gossip Girl. Whilst Gossip Girl is aimed at teenagers and young women, ‘Bridgerton’, with the period costumes and the way the trailer promotes the show, feels like it is aimed at an older audience. Personally, I am in the older category but with a teenage mentality – so – ‘winner winner chicken dinner’ for me!
The story is based on the novels written by Julia Quinn. It opens at the beginning of the London ‘season’ for the aristocracy. In the first episode, we see 2 particular families who live opposite each other (the Bridgertons and the Featheringtons – central to the series), getting ready for the debutantes ball where they are presented to the queen as they enter society for the first time, enabling them to find a suitable husband. The story is fairly common type of love story, but has the most entertaining interruptions, which give cause for doubt and intrigue and has some good sideline stories too.
The narrator is that of Lady Whistledown (voiced by the legendary Julie Andrews), who writes a gossip paper which is read and favoured by all and whose identity is a mystery, mirroring Gossip Girl and her blog.
The female lead character is Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor (Younger)) and the story mainly follows her journey to being happily married. Dynevor plays the part extremely well, her mannerisms are exactly what you’d expect to see from her character and one can’t help but champion her as you observe her develop and grow from innocent debutante to tenacious duchess.
The male lead is Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings (played by Rege-Jean Page (Roots)) and is a smouldering, complicated and aloof character initially, whom you see open up as the show progresses.
More great character roles are played by a talented cast including Nicola Coughlan (Derry Girls), Polly Walker (Patriot Games, Line of Duty), Ben Miller (Death in Paradise) and Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch) amongst others and they all blend together to enhance this romantic, amusing, historic-drama.
Scenery is extremely beautiful and very ‘in keeping’ with the theme of the show. Filmed in a number of locations, mainly Baths’ Royal Crescent, but also Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, Wilton House near Salisbury and even Hampton Court Palace, it gives the convincing ‘feels’ of the period.
Costumes are based on Regency, with modern twists thrown in by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick; the Bridgertons wear a more classic Regency costume with subtle changes that don’t distract from the look, whereas the Featherington women wear clothes that give a feel of Cinderellas’ step mother and step sisters. The daughters with colours so bright they are almost neon and multicoloured flowers embroidered onto voile over their Regency style dresses and the mother with a 50’s style neckline.
The music is also a wonderful adaption from modern to classical string and include versions of ‘Wildest Dreams’ by Taylor Swift, ‘Strange’ by Celeste and even ‘Bad Guy’ by Billie Eilish.
To conclude, the show is a delight of all the senses with its’ colour, music, talent and creativity and I would recommend it to anyone wanting distraction via pure fantasy