|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. It is 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 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."
|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, during the competitive world of Regency era London's ton, households are preparing for the social season of arranging matches for marriage. Among the debutantes presented at court to Queen Charlotte are the three Featherington sisters and the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne, whom the Queen praises highly, giving her an edge over 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, the 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 Daphne; his off-putting behavior drives away all except the detestable Lord Berbrooke. Marina 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 Marina 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 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 Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington 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. Simon and Lord Berbrooke fight over Daphne's honor. Lord Berbrooke acquires a special license for his marriage to Daphne and threatens to ruin her name. Lady Bridgerton turns the tables on him 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 closer, 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. Viscount Benedict Bridgerton accuses Eloise of being Lady Whistledown. Anthony tries to take up with Siena again but she turns him down. George writes to Marina claiming 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 Prince Friedrich'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, Prince 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 Prince 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 local dressmaker Genevieve Delacroix 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. 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 III 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. Lady Bridgerton and Daphne have a brief 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 and consummate their marriage.|
|6||"Swish"||Julie Anne Robinson||Sarah Dollard||December 25, 2020|
|Simon and Daphne as the Duke and the new Duchess arrive at Clyvedon for their honeymoon and spend much time together, romantically and sexually. Daphne has difficulty building a relationship with the housekeeper 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 decides to live separate lives if Daphne is not with child. The Queen is impatient with Eloise's progress in uncovering Lady Whistledown. The Queen 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, tries to locate George. 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 Genevieve is the most likely person to be Lady Whistledown. Marina attempts to end her pregnancy and faints. Daphne gets her menstruation, therefore is not pregnant, and cries in her mother's arms with Simon overhearing.|
|8||"After the Rain"||Alrick Riley||Chris Van Dusen||December 25, 2020|
|George's brother, Sir Phillip Crane, arrives with news that George died in battle. An unfinished letter from George reveals that he did love Marina and intended to return for her and their child. Phillip offers to marry Marina himself, but she turns him down. Eloise confronts Genevieve and, believing her to be Lady Whistledown, tries to convince her to write in the Featheringtons' favor. Daphne finds the letters Simon wrote to his father and Lady Danbury fills in the blanks about Simon's childhood. Daphne begins to make amends with Simon, who is reconsidering what he wants after spending time with Daphne's younger siblings. Anthony reunites with Siena and invites her to Daphne and Simon's ball, but Siena tells Anthony to move on. Will throws the fight and receives his winnings from Archibald, who is murdered by his "associates". Marina realizes that she is still pregnant and after receiving insight from Lady Featherington, departs London to marry Phillip. Before Penelope can profess her love for him, Colin announces he is leaving for his tour. The Queen sends her agents to capture Lady Whistledown, but Eloise is able to tip her off. A downpour interrupts Simon and Daphne's ball, but the couple reconcile, leading Lady Whistledown to declare it the best ball of the season. Anthony announces that he will find a wife without love. Eloise realizes that Genevieve is not Lady Whistledown, who is revealed only to the audience to be Penelope. Later, Daphne and Simon have their first child, a son.|
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 Van Dusen revealed on Twitter that the series had additionally been renewed for a third and fourth season. On May 14, 2021, it was announced that Jess Brownell would serving as writer and showrunner for third and fourth seasons, replacing Van Dusen.
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. On May 28, 2021, Rupert Evans joined the cast as Edmund Bridgerton, the patriarch of the Bridgerton family 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.
In May 2021, it was reported that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have refused permission to build a film set for the second season in Sunninghill Park near Windsor, despite royal approval.
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" and Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy", all four of which 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.
In May 2021, Netflix ordered a limited prequel series from Shonda Rhimes, which will focus on the rise and love life of a young Queen Charlotte. Rhimes will write the series and serve as executive producer alongside Betsy Beers and Tom Verica.
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|||
|British Academy Television Awards||Virgin TV's Must-See Moment||"Penelope is revealed as Lady Whistledown"||Nominated|||
|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|||
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||Best Original Score in a TV Show/Limited Series||Kris Bowers||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|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Music Score and Musical for Episodic Long Form Broadcast Media||Brittany DuBay (for "Shock and Delight")||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Show||Bridgerton||Nominated|||
|Best Breakthrough Performance||Regé-Jean Page||Won|
|Best Kiss||Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor||Nominated|
|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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