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Netflix will be treating audiences across the world to a festive treat this Christmas in the form of Bridgerton, a Regency-era period drama. The show will be hitting the streaming service across the globe on Christmas Day for viewers to sit down and watch. But how much of Bridgerton takes its cue from real life and how much is fictional?
Jane Austen fans will be delighted to hear a new costume drama is coming very soon, which promises to bring as much romance and intrigue as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.
Bridgerton has been made by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shona Rhimes’ production company Shondaland, which is also behind hits such as Scandal, Gilded Lilys, How to Get Away with Murder, and Private Practice.
This time, Shondaland is going to be bringing all the pomp and ceremony of England during the Regency era to screens with a contemporary flair.
Express.co.uk has the lowdown on the new forthcoming series including insight from some of the creative minds behind the vibrant show.
Is the Bridgerton family real?
Bridgerton is based on the novel series by author Julia Quinn, who has written a total of nine novels set in this world.
The eight-part series follows Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her debut in London in the hopes of finding a suitable husband.
While Daphne’s prospects initially look positive, her older brother’s discerning eye leads these potential husbands-to-be to dwindle away.
To make matters worse, Daphne soon finds herself the subject of gossip in the high society sheets, written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown (voiced by Dame Julie Andrews) whose acerbic tongue would give Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess a run for her money.
As Daphne finds aspersions cast upon her, she also falls under the gaze of Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), who arrives on the scene.
Despite being a self-confessed bachelor, determined not to settle down, Daphne and the Duke soon find themselves deeply drawn to each other as sparks begin to fly.
The premise certainly has the makings of any compelling period drama with Bridgerton taking place in 1813.
Sadly, for history buffs, the Bridgertons and the rest of the show is a flight of indulgent fancy and escapism with the family simply being a fictitious creation.
Speaking to media including Express.co.uk, Bridgerton creator Chris Van Dusen explained how he brought the books to life for the small screen.
He said: “I fell in love with the books the very first time that I read them.
“They had every element I’m always drawn to: they were funny, they were emotional and they were of course super-sexy.
“Of course, you had this amazingly delightful, charming family at the centre of that and plus it was completely escapism.
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Van Dusen went on to say: “After reading all the novels, I immediately saw a series. I’ve always loved a good period show, everything from the amazing costumes to the beautiful and locations to the drama that comes from having this specific, really clear set of societal rules.”
He continued: “So, all those rules and restrictions, they made for some really great conflict that provided us endless amounts of stories in the writers’ room.
“But at the same time, period pieces are usually thought to be just a little traditional and a little conservative and that wasn’t really ever the way that I wanted Bridgerton to be, because for starters, what fun is that? And two, I knew the show could be so much more than that. In a lot of ways, I knew the show had to be so much more than that.”
The creator said Bridgerton was about “so much more” than simply the titular family and told a story about society while looking at real issues and making them a part of the conversation.
Bridgerton features a diverse cast of characters including non-white actors, making it something of a first in the world of period drama.
Among the cast is Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey of Broadchurch fame, Ben Miller from Death in Paradise, Casualty star and veteran theatre star Adjoa Andoh, Claudia Jessie, Polly Walker, Lorraine Ashbourne, Sabrina Bartlett and Harriet Cains, among many others.
The show offers up a more contemporary viewing experience – even going so far as to include pop songs with a Regency makeover to them.
Reflecting on the modern feel of the series, Van Dusen said: “The world of Bridgerton – everything on this show is really filtered through our own unique, modern lens and that’s because the show is for a modern audience.
“Even though we’re set in the 19th century, we wanted things to feel relatable. We wanted audiences to see themselves in these characters.
“Bridgerton – it’s not a history lesson, it’s not a documentary. There were not actually any real Bridgertons in 1813 Regency London as far as I know.
“We honoured the history, of course, but we’re not beholden to it. It’s a reimagined world and what we’re really doing is marrying history and fantasy in what I think is a really exciting way.”
Bridgerton will be released on Netflix on Christmas Day
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