Netflix's New Period Drama Bridgerton Drops On Christmas Day
The news has made festive television all the more important for those who may be spending Christmas on their own, with a number of us turning to Netflix to keep us entertained.
Luckily the streaming service is dropping one of the most hotly anticipated series of the year on Christmas Day; the racy regency drama Bridgerton, produced by Grey's Anatomy star Shonda Rhimes.
You can watch the trailer below.
So what can we expect from Netflix's latest period piece? Here's everything you need to know.
What is Bridgerton about?
Based on Julia Quinn's nine book series, Bridgerton follows the well-to-do family of the same name, consisting of the widowed matriarch and her eight tight-knit children, with each novel documenting each sibling's search for true love.
This series is based upon 2000 novel The Duke and I, which focuses on eldest daughter Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and her blossoming romance with Simon Bassett (Rege-Jean Page).
The gossip around London's high society and the scandal which surround certain frissons are then narrated to the audience by the elusive Lady Whistledown (played by the legendary Julie Andrew).
What makes Bridgerton different from your usual stuffy period drama or run-of-the-mill bodice ripper? The show endeavours to tip the stereotypes, tropes and cliches that have loomed over period shows previously, and aims to present something fresh and diverse.
"I've always loved a good period show," creator Chris Van Dusen told Tyla. "Everything from the amazing costumes, to the beautiful sets and locations, to the drama with everyone having these very specific and clear set of societal rules. All these rules and restrictions made for some really great conflict that provided us with endless amounts of stories in the writers room.
"At the same time, period pieces are always thought of as being a little traditional and a little conservative. And that was ever the way I wanted Bridgerton to be. For starters, what fun is that? And two, I knew the show could be so much more than that."
"I really set out to make the period show I wanted to see," Chris continued. "One that turns this traditional genre on its head and presents something new and fresh and relatable and topical. The regency period was a crazy time and it was full of decadence and excess and glamour. And with Bridgerton we sought to reimagine that time period in a way it hasn't been seen before.
"It's almost like reading a romance novel, things are sexy and dangerous and can be a really wild ride and there are scenes in moments that are going to make you blush. That was just one part of it.
"Underneath the beautiful escapist world, we have this running modern commentary on things like class and gender and sex and sexuality and race. They are issues that audiences can relate to today."
Who is in the cast of Bridgerton?
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A hugely diverse cast are taking part on the series - as well as Julie, Phoebe and Rege as our leads, Broadchurch's Jonathan Bailey stars as Anthony Bridgerton, Derry Girls' Nicola Coughlan plays Penelope Featherington, and Casualty's Adjoa Andoh is Lady Danbury.
It's a diverse cast for a period drama, which have often failed to feature people of colour, and this diversity has been applauded by Rege.
"This is an audience that's 21st century, that is wider than it's ever been," he told Digital Spy.
"And I think ignoring large swathes of that audience and how you cast your stories and who you tell stories about is not something that we're ready to do anymore. So I'm glad that we're serving everyone as they should be, that we're representing more people than before."
What can we expect from the series?
Bridgerton does not shy away from sex, with the show certainly spicy for a Christmas Day release.
Jonathan has revealed that the sex scenes are so energetic they are almost filmed like "stunts".
"And brilliantly so, because we had an intimacy coordinator, which is relatively new I think in the industry, and I can't believe there was ever a time when they weren't in place," he told press.
"Because of that, it was all incredibly safe and it became really fun. And it was a brilliant opportunity to show how there's different ways in which you can have sex and you can tell the story in their relationship and their power dynamic and how they're feeling in that one moment, in the way they do interact sexually.
"So yeah, it was brilliant. I really enjoyed it."
And while Bridgerton relishes its raunchy regency setting, it still tips a wink to the modern day - with Ariana Grande songs being played at the multiple balls that punctuate the series.
"Everything on this show is really filtered through this unique modern lens," Chris explained. "It's for a modern audience. Even though we're set in the 19th century, we wanted things to feel relatable, we wanted the audience to see themselves in these characters.
"Bridgerton is not a history lesson or a documentary, there aren't any actual Bridgerton families in regency London as far as I know, we rely on the history but we're not beholden to it. It's an imagined world and what we're doing is marrying history and fantasy in a really exciting way.
"We have this incredibly diverse, multiracial cast that tells you this isn't your typical period piece."
Chris also stressed Bridgerton's saucy sense of humour. "The tone of our show is spirited and daring. The story moves fast, and people talk fast," he explained. "The banter is sharp and is witty and funny. And of course, it's really, really sexy, which you don't always get in a period piece.
"From our very early on conversations, we talked about this world looking fresh and feeling youthful and fun. It's not stuffy at all. Things sparkle in our world. There's an effervescence there. I always wanted our world to be full of swagger and style, and you see that with our production design and our incredible costumes."
What shows are similar to Bridgerton?
Brigerton has been described by critics as Downton Abbey meets Gossip Girl, but for those who are hooked on period pieces with a twist, we heartily recommend ITV's Belgravia, Vanity Fair (which also aired on the same channel) and the Personal History of David Copperfield, which stars Dev Patel and is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
Bridgerton is available on Netflix from December 25th.
Featured Image Credit: Netflix
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