I think they used to call them Bodice Rippers. A period romance that managed to combine that said romance with quite a bit of raunchiness too. Barbara Cartland and Mills and Boon were renowned for them, but I have to admit that they had always passed me by, although I am partial to a touch of Jane Austen. But then I discovered the big Netflix Christmas hit Bridgerton, and, oh my word, I binged watched the lot in 2 days.
Bridgerton is everything you want in a period drama. It is full of beautiful people, not the least being the stunning leads, Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton the ‘incomparable’ of the season, and the utterly divine (total swoon) Rege-Jean Paige as Simon, the Duke of Hastings, who frankly I have not yet recovered from. They are ably supported by the equally gorgeous Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, and the brilliant Claudia Jessie as the spirited modern women Eloise Bridgerton, so popular she has spawned a whole host of Twitter accounts in her honour.
As well as being stunning to look at, and exquisitely dressed, the cast is also notable in that it uses both black and white actors in key roles, including the exquisite Ruby Barker as Marina, one of the most spirited, sympathetic characters in the story. Queen Charlotte is played as a women of colour by Golda Rosheuvel, and watchers may be surprised to learn that this may have been based on some fact. Adjoa Andoh is one of my favourite characters as Lady Danbury, certainly showing that regency women could certainly have their own fun, and be people of influence, in their own right.
Bridgerton is the sort of television we really need at the moment, beautiful escapism with gorgeous sets that look like Wedgewood pottery. I loved every single moment of it and am totally considering binge watching it a second time – the perfect way to stay inside and keep safe during this lockdown, although you may be tempted to buy a set of ladders to rest by your bookcase…(If you know, you know!)