|Created by||Chris Van Dusen|
by Julia Quinn
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||57–72 minutes|
|Original release||December 25, 2020 –|
Bridgerton is an American streaming television period drama series created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes. It is based on Julia Quinn's novels set in the competitive world of Regency era London's ton during the season, when debutantes are presented at court. Bridgerton is Shonda Rhimes's first scripted Netflix series.
Bridgerton premiered on Netflix on December 25, 2020. The eight-episode first season was met with positive reviews. With a viewership of 82 million households, it has become the most-watched series on Netflix. The series reached No. 1 in 76 countries on Netflix. In January 2021, the series was renewed for a second season. In April 2021, creator Chris Van Dusen revealed on Twitter that the series had additionally been renewed for a third and fourth season.
The drama takes place in Regency era London in 1813, centering on the aristocratic Bridgerton family. The widow Violet, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton is mother to eight children: her four sons, Anthony, Benedict, Colin, and Gregory, and her four daughters, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, and Hyacinth. Also featured are their gaudy neighbors, the Featheringtons: Portia, Lady Featherington; her husband the Baron; and their three daughters, Philippa, Prudence and Penelope; as well as their mysterious cousin Marina Thompson. Each episode includes narration by actress Julie Andrews, who voices the anonymous and ever-scandalous newsletter columnist known as Lady Whistledown. Lady Whistledown knows all the information in London, and everyone focuses on Lady Whistledown's article, even Queen Charlotte.
As eldest daughter Daphne Bridgerton enters her first season with Queen Charlotte's favor, she meets Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings and best friend of her eldest brother, Anthony. Despite being encouraged by his mentor, Lady Danbury, the Duke is determined not to marry and plots with Daphne to secure his bachelordom and her a suitable marriage.
Unlike the series of novels, Bridgerton is set in an alternate history with a racially integrated London where people of color are members of the ton, some with titles granted by the sovereign. Creator Chris Van Dusen was inspired by historical debate over the 1940s African ancestry claims of Queen Charlotte "...to base the show in an alternative history in which Queen Charlotte's mixed race heritage was not only well-established but was transformative for Black people and other people of color in England." Van Dusen says the series is not "color-blind" because "that would imply that color and race were never considered, when color and race are part of the show."
Cast and characters
- Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, a sharp-tongued, insightful doyenne of London society, who was a close friend of Simon's mother and helped raise him after her death.
- Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs. Varley, the Featheringtons' housekeeper
- Jonathan Bailey as Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton, the eldest Bridgerton son and heir to the family title and estate. Since their father's passing, he is also responsible for finding suitable spouses for his sisters while he himself is unwilling to marry.
- Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson, a Featherington cousin from a upper middle class rural gentry family who comes to debut in London society as payment for a debt Baron Featherington owes her father. Marina is strikingly beautiful but also has a secret that will devastate not only her reputation but the entire family's.
- Sabrina Bartlett as Siena Rosso, an opera singer who is Anthony's lover.
- Harriet Cains as Philippa Featherington, the middle Featherington daughter
- Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, the eldest Featherington daughter
- Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, the youngest Featherington daughter who is also best friends with Eloise and Colin Bridgerton.
- Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bassett (née Bridgerton), Duchess of Hastings, the fourth Bridgerton child and eldest daughter. After her societal debut, she catches the eye of Queen Charlotte and becomes entangled in a courting deception with the Duke of Hastings, which becomes the epicenter of the gossip column from the mysterious "Lady Whistledown."
- Ruth Gemmell as Violet, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton, the widowed mother of the eight Bridgerton children. Her decades-long marriage, which ended with her husband's death, is the inspiration for her daughter Daphne's ideal "love-match."
- Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, the eighth and youngest Bridgerton child
- Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, the fifth Bridgerton child and second daughter. Eloise is an independent young woman who is dreading having to make her societal debut. She is close with her brother Benedict, and is best friends with Penelope Featherington. She ardently searches for the real identity of Lady Whistledown.
- Ben Miller as Archibald, Baron Featherington, the Featherington patriarch. He has a gambling habit that has left him deeply in debt.
- Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, the third Bridgerton son and close friend of Penelope Featherington. Though he longs for adventure, he is smitten with Marina Thompson.
- Regé-Jean Page as Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (season 1), one of London's most eligible bachelors who famously refuses to marry. He is a close friend of Anthony Bridgerton.
- Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. While she thrives on the gossip of the ton, she is agitated by the appearance of Lady Whistledown, whose scoops often go against the Queen's own plotting.
- Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, the second Bridgerton son. Like his sister Eloise, he longs for a life beyond the confines of the ton, and is an artist.
- Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, the seventh Bridgerton child and youngest son
- Polly Walker as Portia, Baroness Featherington, the Baron's ambitious wife and mother of his daughters. She believes herself to be cunning, scheming to get her daughters courted during their season; and, later, forced to try to make a match for Marina Thompson.
- Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown, the author of a scandalous society newsletter.
- Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, the third Bridgerton daughter who has spent the season in France with relatives.
- Molly McGlynn as Rose Nolan, Daphne's loyal maid and confidant
- Joanna Bobin as Lady Cowper, Cressida's mother
- Jessica Madsen as the debutante Cressida Cowper, Daphne's rival
- Jason Barnett as Jeffries, the Basset butler
- Hugh Sachs as Brimsley, the Queen's secretary
- Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich, a boxer and confidant of the Duke of Hastings
- Geraldine Alexander as Mrs. Wilson, the Bridgerton housekeeper
- Kathryn Drysdale as Genevieve Delacroix, a high society modiste/dressmaker
- Simon Ludders as Humboldt, a Bridgerton footman.
- Julian Ovenden as Sir Henry Granville, an artist who befriends Benedict.
- Jamie Beamish as Nigel Berbrooke, a suitor of Daphne
- Freddie Stroma as Prince Frederick of Prussia, the Queen's grandnephew who hopes to marry Daphne.
- Amy Beth Hayes as Lady Trowbridge, a widow
- James Fleet as King George III, the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He suffers from an unknown mental illness that left him debilitated for much of the season.
- Céline Buckens as Kitty Langham, a general's wife
- Chris Fulton as Sir Phillip Crane, a baronet and the younger brother of Marina's lover, Sir George
- Oscar Coleman as 4-year-old Simon
- Cairo Eusebe as 6-year-old Simon
- Lucas Booth-Clibborn as 11-year-old Simon
- Daphne Di Cinto as Sarah Bassett, Duchess of Hastings, Simon's mother who died during childbirth.
- Richard Pepple as Duke of Hastings, Simon's father, who was absent and verbally abusive.
- Emma Naomi as Alice Mondrich, Will Mondrich's wife
|No.||Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original release date |
|1||"Diamond of the First Water"||Julie Anne Robinson||Chris Van Dusen||December 25, 2020|
|In 1813, households are preparing for the social season of arranging matches for marriage. Among the debutantes presented to the queen are the three Featherington sisters and the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne, whom Queen Charlotte praises highly, giving her an edge over the other young ladies. A new scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown circulates London, promoting Daphne as the season's "Incomparable". A distant cousin of Lord Featherington, Marina Thompson, comes to stay for the season under the supervision of Lady Featherington. Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, returns to London to see to the affairs of his late father. Simon's confidante, Lady Danbury, pressures him into joining the season. Viscount Anthony Bridgerton deems all potential suitors unsuitable for his sister Daphne; his off-putting behavior drives away all except the detestable Lord Berbrooke. Miss Thompson picks up the slack, to the anger of the queen and Lady Featherington. Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton conspire to bring Simon and Daphne together. Anthony breaks up with his mistress, Siena Rosso. Lady Featherington deduces that Miss Thompson is pregnant. Simon and Daphne agree to pretend to court so that Daphne will enjoy the attentions of suitors eager to steal her away from a duke, while Simon will have respite from ambitious young ladies and their mothers.|
|2||"Shock and Delight"||Tom Verica||Janet Lin||December 25, 2020|
|Flashbacks reveal Simon's tragic childhood. After his mother died in childbirth, Simon was left under the control of his cruel father, who refused to accept that his only son was less than perfect. Lady Danbury came to his aid, assisting him in managing his stammer and supervising his education. On his father's deathbed, Simon vows he will never sire an heir in order to spite his father. In the present, the Queen grows more frustrated with Lady Whistledown's writings. Eloise and Penelope are confused as to how one becomes with child. Marina remains confined to her room but shares with Penelope that her child was conceived in love with a man named Sir George Crane who is fighting in Spain. Simon and Daphne's ruse works perfectly, but Anthony is upset, knowing of Simon's rakish behavior. Lord Berbrooke demands Daphne's hand, and Daphne gives him a black eye in self-defense; Anthony cancels his offer with Lord Berbrooke. Hastings and Berbrooke fight over Daphne's honor. Berbrooke acquires a special license for his marriage to Daphne and threatens to ruin her if she doesn't agree. Violet turns the tables on him, however, after successive teas with the Queen and Lord Berbrooke's mother reveal a scandal that makes its way to Lady Whistledown.|
|3||"Art of the Swoon"||Tom Verica||Leila Cohan-Miccio||December 25, 2020|
|Simon and Daphne become quite close, leading to Daphne turning down multiple proposals. Simon meets Siena, who invites him to see her after her next performance. Lady Featherington tries to match Marina again, but she waits for George to write back. Determined to prove that she is still the true ruler of London society, the Queen schemes to match Daphne with her nephew, the handsome and kind Prince Friedrich of Prussia. Lady Danbury tells Simon that he needs to propose to Daphne or step aside to make way for the superior match. Simon reluctantly calls off the ruse with Daphne. Benedict accuses Eloise of being Lady Whistledown. Anthony tries to take up with Siena again but she turns him down, as she does not wish to be only loved in the dark. Sir George writes to Marina that there was nothing between them, but unbeknownst to Marina, the letter was faked by Lady Featherington. Lady Bridgerton pushes Anthony to think about a match for himself. Simon decides to leave London ahead of schedule as a heartbroken Daphne embraces the prince's attentions.|
|4||"An Affair of Honor"||Sheree Folkson||Abby McDonald||December 25, 2020|
|Prince Friedrich invites Daphne to the palace and gifts her a beautiful necklace. Marina is presented to older suitors in want of heirs in an effort to marry her quickly. Eloise decides she will find out Lady Whistledown's identity. Daphne attends a boxing match with Prince Friedrich. Marina is set up with an older suitor and is saved by Colin. At a sumptuous fete, Friedrich prepares to propose but an undecided Daphne flees to the garden. Simon approaches her to say goodbye and apologize. Daphne, upset, runs into a hedge maze, followed shortly by Simon, and the two kiss passionately. Anthony interrupts and demands that Simon marry Daphne. Simon refuses and Anthony challenges him to a duel at dawn. Penelope is crushed by Colin's attention to Marina which causes a fight with Eloise. Anthony plans to use the duel to free himself from society and be with Siena. Lady Featherington discovers the extent of her husband's gambling debts. Daphne realizes that Cressida Cowper, her rival for Friedrich's affections, witnessed what happened in the garden and races to stop the duel. Simon tells her that the reason he cannot marry her is because he cannot provide her with children. Weighing her options, Daphne firmly declares they will marry anyway.|
|5||"The Duke and I"||Sheree Folkson||Joy C Mitchell||December 25, 2020|
|Daphne and Simon petition the Archbishop of Canterbury for an expedited marriage license, but he refuses at the behest of the queen. Prince Friedrich visits Daphne for closure. Anthony promises to take care of Siena even if they cannot be together, but Genevieve claims she has left town. Money issues boil up at the Featherington home. Penelope becomes ever more jealous of Colin's attention to Marina. Cressida and Daphne confront each other during a dress fitting. Benedict attends a party at the invitation of Sir Henry Granville. Lady Featherington intends for Marina to marry Lord Rutledge and orders her to cut out Colin. Simon and Daphne appeal to the Queen to allow for an early wedding; faced with losing her beloved King George to his increasing dementia, the Queen is moved by Simon's impassioned plea. Simon and Daphne are married in a simple church ceremony. At the wedding reception, Marina gets a proposal from Colin, but with the request of a long engagement. The Queen takes interest in Eloise's investigation into the identity of Lady Whistledown. Violet and Daphne have an awkward conversation about sex which leaves her with more questions than answers. Simon and Daphne leave for Clyvedon, but stay at an inn to avoid the journey after dusk. At the inn, Daphne finally confronts Simon over his avoidance of her, and the pair realize that they are in fact madly in love. He takes her virginity, consummating their marriage.|
|6||"Swish"||Julie Anne Robinson||Sarah Dollard||December 25, 2020|
|The Duke and Duchess arrive at Clyvedon for their honeymoon and spend much time together. Daphne has difficulty building a relationship with Mrs. Colson. Colin announces his engagement to Marina, to his family's dismay. Daphne and Simon mingle with the villagers. Penelope tries to ruin the engagement by confiding in Colin that Marina is in love with another man. Colin suggests he and Marina marry sooner than their families desire by traveling to Scotland. Simon turns his attention to the books after hearing that his tenants' rent has increased. Daphne is told that she offended the village by not being able to pick a winning pig at the fair. Mrs. Colson reveals more about Simon's upbringing to Daphne. Penelope discovers that George's letter was faked, but Marina chooses to marry Colin anyway, intending to move on from George. Daphne, with the help of her lady's maid, realizes that Simon can have children, but does not want to. She confronts him about it later that night and they argue. Lady Whistledown publishes Marina's secret, shocking Colin.|
|7||"Oceans Apart"||Alrick Riley||Jay Ross & Abby McDonald||December 25, 2020|
|Simon and Daphne's dispute continues and Daphne decides to return to London after Lady Whistledown’s latest publication surfaces. Eloise prepares for her debut and continues to try to uncover Lady Whistledown in order to convince her to restore the Featherington name. Daphne arranges a chaperoned meeting for Colin and Marina. Simon threatens to live separate lives if Daphne is not with child. The Queen is impatient with Eloise's progress in uncovering Lady Whistledown. She throws the Featheringtons out of her luncheon because of Marina's scandal. Lady Danbury invites Daphne to a lively party with the married women of the town, where Daphne, deciding to help Marina, flexes her social power to locate Sir George Crane. To settle his debts, Lord Featherington approaches Will to convince him to throw his next fight; Will considers it. Anthony and Simon come to blows. Daphne discovers why Simon does not want to have children. Eloise realizes that Madame Delacroix is the most likely person to be Lady Whistledown. Marina attempts to abort her pregnancy and faints. Daphne gets her menstruation, therefore she is not pregnant. She cries in her mother's arms with Simon overhearing.|
|8||"After the Rain"||Alrick Riley||Chris Van Dusen||December 25, 2020|
On July 20, 2018, Netflix announced that Shonda Rhimes would produce the Bridgerton series based on Julia Quinn's bestselling novels, while Chris Van Dusen would be showrunner. Quinn explained on The Tamron Hall Show that when she heard from her agent that Rhimes was interested in adapting her novels, she "almost fell off of [her] stool", and quickly agreed to the offer. On June 19, 2019, Julie Andrews was cast as Lady Whistledown, whose voice-overs explain much of the series' action. Van Dusen said in a Shondaland article: "I think [period shows] are considered a bit traditional and conservative. With Bridgerton, I wanted to take everything I loved about a period show and turn it into something fresh, topical, and relatable." On January 21, 2021, Netflix renewed the series for a second season. On April 13, 2021, creator Chris Van Dusen revealed on Twitter that the series had additionally been renewed for a third and fourth season.
On July 10, 2019, it was announced that Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page would play leads, while Jonathan Bailey, Golda Rosheuvel, Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Nicola Coughlan, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh and Polly Walker were cast in as regulars.
On February 15, 2021, it was announced that Simone Ashley had been cast as Kate Sharma, the female lead for season 2. On April 5, 2021, Charithra Chandran then joined the cast as her sister Edwina in addition to Rupert Young, who is set to play a new character. Few days later, Shelley Conn was cast as Kate and Edwina's mother Mary, and Calam Lynch was cast as Theo Sharpe for the second season.
Principal photography wrapped in late February 2020. Bridgerton was filmed in London and Bath, as well as at various estates and parks around England. Although the series takes place in London, most street scenes were filmed in Bath, York, and Chatham. The grounds of Wilton House were used for Hyde Park and the grounds of Somerley were used for Hampstead Heath.
Ranger's House in Greenwich, southeast London was used for the Bridgerton House exterior and Halton House at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire for the interior. Commissioner's House in Kent was used for some garden scenes.
Wilton House was filmed as the exterior of and entrance to Simon Basset's Hastings House. Syon House in London and Badminton House in Gloucestershire made up the rest of the estate. Simon's Clyvedon estate was made up of Castle Howard in North Yorkshire for the exterior and Wilton House for the interior, with Coneysthorpe being used as Clyvedon village.
Holburne Museum in Bath is the site of Lady Danbury's estate. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, the location of her balls, no longer exists in its entirety. The production team recreated it by combining the remaining parts with Castle Howard and Stowe Park. The banqueting room at the Guildhall, Bath was used for another ball as well as the Great Hall at Leigh Court in Somerset.
Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and Halton House at RAF Halton were combined for the Featheringtons' interior, and No. 1 Royal Crescent in Bath makes up the exterior meant to be Grosvenor Square in the series. The Featheringtons go for walks through the gardens of Painshill in Cobham.
Anthony Bridgerton and Simon Basset meet in the Reform Club on Pall Mall in central London. The scene in which Lady Featherington takes Marina to the slums was filmed at Chatham Dockyard in Kent. Boxing scenes were also filmed here in addition to Normansfield Theatre in Teddington. Theatre scenes were filmed at the Hackney Empire. Queen's House was used for the exterior of Somerset House and Somerley for the interior.
A café in Bath, Pickled Greens, was used as the site of the Modiste shop and the Bathrooms at No.5 store on Trim Street became the site of Gunter's Tea Shop. Dorney Court is the site of the Coaching Inn that Daphne and Simon visit.
Production for the second season began in March 2021.
American composer and pianist Kris Bowers composed and arranged the score for the series. Bowers wrote and composed the first season's soundtrack, featuring nineteen songs. Musicians recorded the score remotely from their home studios during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first season featured orchestral covers of contemporary popular music, which director and executive producer Julie Anne Robinson said was inspired by the use of classic rock songs in the 2001 film A Knight's Tale. Songs featured included Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next", Maroon 5's "Girls Like You", Shawn Mendes's "In My Blood", Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy", all four of which were performed by Vitamin String Quartet. Also included are Celeste's "Strange" performed by Bowers, and Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" performed by Duomo. Bowers also included modern interpretations of classical music, such as Bach's Cello Suite No. 6 in D major from Peter Gregson's Recomposed by Peter Gregson: Bach – The Cello Suites and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons from Max Richter's Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons.
In regards to the historical accuracy of the show, Chris Van Dusen has said that the show "is a reimagined world, we’re not a history lesson, it’s not a documentary. What we’re really doing with the show is marrying history and fantasy in what I think is a very exciting way. One approach that we took to that is our approach to race". The aristocratic Bridgerton family, Lady Whistledown and most of the other characters in the show are entirely fictional.
The theory that Queen Charlotte may have had African ancestry has been characterized as an unhistorical assertion by most scholars. In an interview with Insider magazine, American historian Marlene Koenig said the show's representation of Regency-era London was more diverse than it was in reality, adding that "diversity as we know what the word means did not exist" in Britain during that period.
Some classical music pieces used in the first season were composed later than 1813, the year the first season was set in. Examples include Dmitri Shostakovich's Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 2, which was written in 1938, and "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" from Jacques Offenbach's 1881 opera The Tales of Hoffmann.
For the first season, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 89% based on 92 reviews, with an average rating of 7.88/10. The website's critics' consensus reads, "Sumptuous design, soapy drama, and a sterling cast make Bridgerton a delightful treat." Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 74 out of 100 based on 33 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B+ and wrote, "Bridgerton, it seems, is a wonderful diversion for those who love Pride & Prejudice but wish it had more stairway sex." Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the series four out of four stars and called it "A show that will give you that unmistakable binge twinge and have you activating that "Next Episode" time and again, until there are no more "Next Episodes"."
British GQ described Bridgerton as a cross between Downton Abbey and Gossip Girl, but noted that it "may just end up being another disappointment" and "it could have been brilliant." Salamishah Tillet of The New York Times said "Bridgerton provides a blueprint for British period shows in which Black characters can thrive within the melodramatic story lines, extravagant costumes and bucolic beauty [...] without having to be servants or enslaved." Erum Salam of Cosmopolitan wrote "I kept wanting more. I wanted more explanations of how race factored into this society..."
Carolyn Hinds from The Observer stated "Bridgerton has been praised as a racially diverse show set in the Regency Era". Vanity Fair's Caroline Framke describes the sex in the series "isn't altogether shocking material for Shondaland to mine for its first drama series absent broadcast restraints."
On January 27, 2021, Netflix announced that 82 million households had watched the series in its first 28 days of availability, significantly higher than its January 4 projection of 63 million. It is the most-watched original series launch to date on the service.
|2021||AFI Awards||Top Television Program||Bridgerton||Won|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Period Television||Ellen Mirojnick and John W. Glaser III (for "Diamond of the First Water")||Nominated|||
|Directors Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series||Julie Anne Robinson (for "Diamond of the First Water")||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Best Television Series, Limited or Miniseries or New Media Series – Best Period and/or Character Make-Up||Marc Pilcher, Lynda J. Pearce, Claire Matthews and Louise Bannell||Nominated|||
|Best Television Series, Limited or Miniseries or New Media Series – Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling||Marc Pilcher, Lynda J. Pearce, Adam James Phillips and Tania Couper||Won|
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Bridgerton||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series||Regé-Jean Page||Won|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Adjoa Andoh||Nominated|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Drama||Chris Van Dusen, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Scott Collins, Alison Eakle, Sara Fischer, Sarada McDermott, Holden Chang and Tom Verica||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor in a Drama Series||Regé-Jean Page||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Phoebe Dynevor||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Cast of Bridgerton||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series||Regé-Jean Page||Nominated|
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