Original Author Consulted
The Netflix adaptation wasn’t, in fact, written by the original author, Julia Quinn. However, for accuracy reasons and approval of the stories’ mastermind, Quinn was on call for some consultation.
Since “Bridgerton” is a period piece with modern themes, producers often turned to Quinn to double-check and confirm British title system details. While there were some deviations from the original novel, it was important for producers to receive Quinn’s stamp of approval.
Shared Producers With Another Hit
Yes, you got that right, “Bridgerton” actually shares producers with none other than “Grey’s Anatomy”, which has been on for more seasons than we can count.
Shonda Rhimes’ brainchild production company, Shondaland, took the lead on creating “Bridgerton” and once again has hit the nail on the head, creating another international TV sensation. “Bridegerton” joins not just the likes of “Grey’s Anatomy” but also “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal.” The show is Rhimes’ first major project with Netflix after signing a $150 million deal in 2017.
The Adaption Is a Pioneer for the Romance Novel Genre
Although romance novels are generally chock full of colorful characters, much intrigue, scandal, and beautiful exotic settings, for whatever reason, they generally aren’t adapted for TV.
With significantly more awareness and attention towards female creators, it seems only natural that a genre, which is almost exclusively written, edited, and read by women, would now be taken to the big screen. Its success is a testament to the need for a show of this style. We want more!
The Series Takes Place in 19th Century England
Otherwise known as Regency-era London, this time period proves most interesting with its sublime regalia, lavish parties, proper dialect, and an approach to courtship like nothing we’re familiar with in modern times.
It was reported that the idea to adapt the novels for TV came, in fact, from Rhimes herself. We’re more than thrilled that showrunner Chris Van Dusen saw the unbelievable potential this story had.
It Wasn’t Actually Filmed Strictly in London
Though the show was predominantly filmed in London, the show’s street and many of the park scenes were actually filmed in scenic Bath, England. Bath is known for its beautiful and quaint architecture, which is evident in the shots from the show.
Additionally, there were exterior and interior shots filmed in various museums and country homes, such as the Holburne Museum of Art and Hatfield House.
Multiple Locations Needed Due to Sheer Grandeur
The Duke of Hastings’ estate was actually filmed in three separate locations. The filming took place in Wilton House in Wiltshire, Badminton House in Gloucestershire, and Syon House in Brentford.
It was important for the show makers to convey a feel of opulence and grandeur for the Duke, which countered his closed-off — almost dismissive of the rich — demeanor.
The Queen Herself Interrupted Filming
Although we assume the majority of those reading this article have already seen the show, in the off chance you haven’t, we’d like to state a slight spoiler warning for this fact!
While the much-awaited climactic scene where the Duke and Daphne plead the case of their relationship to Queen Charlotte, the filming was actually under quite a strict time constraint because of Queen Elizabeth herself. It turns out her Majesty needed the space (Lancaster House in London) for a royal event.
Made Up Character Alert!
Although there were some slight deviations from Julia Quinn’s original series, the Netflix adaptation did add one key character that we can’t imagine the story without. Queen Charlotte herself, who played an integral role in moving the story forward was written entirely for TV.
Quinn herself gave her stamp of approval on the character and even went so far as to say she flip flops between wishing she had put her in the book and feeling happy she didn’t because “I wouldn’t have done her as great as they do.”
The Original Novels Didn’t Feature POC Leads
Julia Quinn’s original novels didn’t touch on ethnicity at all. However, showrunner Chris Van Dusen and Shonda Rhimes made a conscious effort to diversify the cast.
Van Dusen stated that after working with historians on Regency-era London, it became increasingly more clear that this time period was, in fact, significantly more diverse than people had originally thought. The show was later praised for its inclusive casting.
Queen Charlotte, Historically Speaking
With the rise of the Bridgerton obsession, a historic debate surrounding Queen Charlotte’s ethnicity has been ignited. It’s believed that the Queen’s consort from 1761 until 1818 had African heritage and is thought to be the first biracial member of the British royal family.
PBS’s Frontline claims that she “directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a Black branch of the Portuguese Royal House” and cited a number of important historical portraits as evidence.
Queen Charlotte Made Actual Appearances in Societal Happenings
The first scene of the entire series is supremely significant for how the story later unfolds. In the first scene, we meet Daphne Bridgerton as she’s presented to Queen Charlotte, who calls her “flawless.”
Though this specific event didn’t occur, due to the fictional nature of the show, this kind of event, it turns out, is historically accurate. It was because of this that adding Queen Charlotte as a character to the show made sense from a historical perspective.
The Show Had a Unique Casting Approach
The show was largely praised for having a “colorblind” cast however showrunner Chris Van Dusen denounces this terminology. Van Dusen claims using the term “colorblind” implies that ethnicity wasn’t at all considered, which isn’t true.
The show sits in an alternative reality of sorts, inspired by Queen Charlotte being England’s first biracial queen in real life. Van Dusen told “The New York Times” that i t made him wonder what that alternative could have looked like.
The Show Shared a Number of Filming Locations With “The Crown”
If you happen to be an avid Netflix binge-watcher, or furthermore, a lover of British period dramas, then you might have noticed some matching set locations with “The Crown”.
Wilton House, an estate located in Wiltshire, England, was the location for both the Duke and Duchess’s home as well as Queen Charlotte’s palace on Bridgerton. In “The Crown”, because they couldn’t very well shoot inside Buckingham Palace itself, Wilton House was the setting for the Palace’s interior shots.
Julie Andrews Serves as the Narrator for the Series
Unless you’re an avid musical theater fan (in which case we’re sure you knew this fact already), you might not have noticed that the voice of Lady Whistledown was none other than legend Julie Andrews herself!
Andrews was thrilled to have this part, reportedly recording the entire series virtually from a studio in New York. We absolutely love that Andrews, generally the most proper of Brits, was given the opportunity to throw some scathing insults here and there. We simply ask, though, couldn’t they have given her a song or two?
The Bridgerton House Had Royal Inspiration
The Lavish Bridgerton residence was actually inspired by Princess Diana’s family home, Althorp, after a visit from showrunner Chris Van Dusen.
The pure elegance and opulence of the house wowed Van Dusen and subsequently viewers who were awe-struck by the royal nature of the Bridgerton household. It was a successful attempt to convey just how prominent the Bridgerton family is.
Many of the Show’s Sets Are CGI
CGI has come a long way since the more than obvious computer images from, oh, say, “Casper,” for example. You might be surprised to know that there was a bit added to the series to ornament the already pastoral scenery.
Both the aerial view of Regency-era London and the opera house were CGI, and you didn’t even notice! And the ivy on the Bridgerton family home that makes the estate look absolutely magical? Also CGI.
Queen Charlotte Loved That Snuff
So first and foremost, what is snuff? For those that don’t know, snuff is a powder made from ground or pulverized tobacco leaves that you “snuff” into your nose, as you saw Queen Charlotte doing quite often.
This practice was very common during this era and was actually a common practice by the real Queen Charlotte. Her habit earned her the nickname “Snuffy Charlotte.”
Little Easter Eggs Are Hidden Only for Readers of the Series
The original “Bridgerton” series is eight books long, so there’s bound to be a number of little things that run through the books the producers snuck into the show to delight readers.
One of these easter eggs is a bumblebee. The significance, says Quinn, will be known only to those that have read more than one book of the series. Whenever a bee is shown in the show, the readers will know what that means… So, should we, like, go read all the books immediately?
They Love Regé-Jean Page in Shondaland
Although one can’t compare a role the size of the Duke of Hastings to anything else he’d done to date, Regé-Jean Page is actually no stranger to Shonda Rhimes productions.
The British-Zimbabwean actor has been in the business since he was a child and even landed a role in Rhimes’ legal drama show, “For the People.” That being said, his portrayal of the Duke has skyrocketed him to stardom and we are just chomping at the bit to see what he does next.
There Was an Alarming Number of Costumes Made for Season One
Hold onto your petticoats, ladies, and gentlemen, because you might not believe just how many costumes were made for Bridgerton, season one.
Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick employed a team of 238 people to create a total of 7,500 pieces. Daphne Bridgerton alone had 104 costumes and we marveled at each and every decadent outfit. Where can one get a ball gown like those she wore? Asking for a friend…
The Background Music Might Sound Familiar
Although adapted to have a Baroque, period sound to it, if you pay attention, you might notice that the background music in the show is actually adapted, modern pop songs.
Audiences can enjoy a classical rendering of such tunes from Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, next” to Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” and more. The show challenged ensembles like the Vitamin String Quartet to compose Regency-era style music from our most identifiable hits.
The Queen Isn’t the Only Character Based on a Real Person
If you remember, the Duke was often seen duking it out, no pun intended, with his friend, sparring partner, and confidant.
This character was actually historically accurate, having been based on a famous boxer from the 19th century named Bill Richmond. Richmond was born a slave in colonial America but spent the majority of his life in England, where his boxing career took off.
There Was Feminism in the Intimate Scenes
It is significantly more common to see bedroom scenes where the woman drops her clothes while the man watches from the bed. However, Bridgerton flipped the script on the trite trope.
Chris Van Dusen chose to shoot all the intimate scenes from the perspective of the “female gaze,” a view much of the male population isn’t used to seeing on the screen. This put Daphne Bridgerton’s desires at the forefront of each of these scenes and took the main focus away from the Duke’s desires. An interesting and much-needed point of view.
The Show Wrapped Just in Time
Any later, and we might not have had this deliciously binge-worthy show to distract us over the holidays. As luck would have it, the show finished filming just before a major-scale global crisis hit.
The show wrapped just a mere few weeks before all productions were halting on the spot. We’re sure the production team is thanking their lucky stars there weren’t any unexpected delays or we might not have been able to delight in this show when we did.
Each Character Had an Intentional Color Scheme
As you might have noted, the Bridgertons had a rather subdued color scheme. This wasn’t by chance. Because the family is prominent and comes from old money, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick decided to go with a powdery palette of pale blues, silvers, and greens. “Whispers of color,” she told “Vogue.”
Opposingly, the Featheringtons, coming from new money, were put in bold citrus hues. Because Portia Featherington needed to marry her daughters off, the colors needed to be bold and stand out.
Buckingham Palace Was, in Fact, Being Renovated in 1813
You may have noticed that the exterior shot of the Queen’s residence had scaffolding. This wasn’t a mistake.
After thorough research of England in that era, Van Dusen discovered that the king and queen’s residence was actually under construction that year as it was being converted from Buckingham Home into what we now know as Buckingham Palace. Van Dusen revealed this to fans through a series of tweets.
Lady Whistledown’s Identity Wasn’t Initially to Be Revealed in Season One
Fans were shocked to find out the actual identity of Lady Whistledown at the very end of season one, a reveal that readers didn’t get at the end of the first book.
Quinn herself wasn’t aware the producers had decided to make the big reveal until she was already seeing rough cuts of the season. Ultimately, the show’s creator decided it made more sense to reveal her identity, given that so many of the fans had read the books and already knew who it was. The mystery had been drawn out long enough.
There’s actually a reason Penelope Featherington is seen in the background in some of the scenes. The little sneak was gathering intel for the next Lady Whistledown Column. Showrunner Chris Van Dusen gives much of the creative credit for this to Penelope actress Nicola Caughlan.
“From the start […] she would always suggest, ‘Perhaps she could cross right here and we could just get a glimpse of her.’” He thought it was a genius idea to put these snippets of her that viewers are bound to notice when they watch the show a second time.
King George’s Illness Is Never Revealed on the Show
King George’s illness is mentioned quite a number of times. We even get to meet him in a scene that implies a level of delusion and maybe even dementia, but nothing is confirmed.
Golda Rosheuvel, who plays Queen Charlotte, said the king’s illness was created from certain historical events. However, the show is not a biopic, and the details of the illness came from showrunner Chris Van Dusen. There are historic claims that he suffered from both mental and physical conditions.
The Set Designers Went All Out for the Palace
Turns out the portraits seen inside the palace were specifically commissioned for the show. Although it would have been perfectly simple to use actual Georgian portraits already located in many of the filming locations, the production team preferred portraits that bore a resemblance to the actors.
Fans get to see these portraits best in the scene where Violet Bridgerton and her handmaid are walking the hall of Buckingham palace.
The Tea Shop in the Series Was Real
The tea shop where Daphne and Simon meet isn’t fictional! The shop very much existed in London in the 19th century.
The only slight variation is, the original location was actually a confectionary shop. It was called The Pot and Pine Apple but changed its name to Gunter’s Tea Shop. The popular spot was located in Berkley Square in London and was opened in 1757 by Italian immigrant Domenico Negri.
Queen Charlotte Truly Did Love Pomeranians
This little fact from the show is quite delightful indeed! The real Queen Charlotte did actually love Pomeranians…and who could blame her, really?
She is surrounded by the little dogs in the show in the majority of her scenes. In reality, The Queen had a number of Pomeranians throughout her life and had a tendency to give them to acquaintances as gifts. Queen Elizabeth has an affinity for Corgis so maybe having a specific breed obsession is a royal thing.
More Seasons Are Coming!
If the fact that the series is based on eight different books isn’t any indication, just the sheer popularity of the show certainly should be. The second season is set to be the fifth largest original series launch on Netflix. Even author Julia Quinn is excited for more on-screen Bridgerton to come!
The writers and producers have already gone through all eight volumes in order to correctly set up the coming season/s, so fingers crossed they’re quick to make and release them!
Season Two Is All About Anthony Bridgerton
According to those who’ve delved into the novels, the season book shifted focus to the eldest brother, played by the absolutely utterly dashing Jonathan Bailey.
Even Phoebe Dynevor (Daphne) seems to think the show will follow fairly close to that of the books and she’s all for seeing where Anthony’s story goes next. We’d all like to see where Anthony’s love life leads and how the other characters will be involved in it, especially Daphne.
Anthony Bridgerton Is Actually a Musical Star
Actor Jonathan Bailey who thrilled fans as the brooding yet sexy older brother to Daphne actually comes from the world of musical theater.
In 2018, Bailey was nominated for and won a Laurence Olivier Award for best supporting actor in a musical for his portrayal of Jamie in the West End revival of “Company.” The stage actor has an absolutely stunning tenor voice, which we highly recommend you go and listen to.
Jonathan Bailey First Auditioned for the Role of Simon
Here’s a fun tidbit for you about Jonathan Bailey, who stars as Anthony Bridgtherton. Bailey originally auditioned for the role of Simon, Duke of Hastings, but producers felt he had more of an Anthony vibe to him.
We’re so glad they did, too, because we couldn’t imagine, a. Anyone else playing the role of the Duke and b. Anyone else pulling off the ornery, yet somehow caring, and all-around complicated character of Anthony Bridgerton.
Queen Charlotte Was Initially Given to Another Bridgerton Favorite
It’s hard to believe it but someone else, who ended up playing another key character in the series, was originally cast as Queen Charlotte.
Adjoa Andoh, who plays the wise Lady Danbury, was given the part of the queen. However, ultimately, it wasn’t her destiny. The part of Lady Danbury was calling, and we, the fans, were lucky enough to get the perfectly cast Golda Rosheuval.
Queen Charlotte’s Wigs Were Actually Quite Heavy
So heavy, in fact, that one wig, in particular, had to be removed during breaks! Fans marveled throughout the season at Queen Charlotte’s absolutely mind-boggling wigs, of which she had many.
Turns out, as amazing as these wigs looked, they were quite burdensome to wear! Because of their weight, and in order not to damage her neck and back, Golda Rosheuval had to make sure she had a strong core and take the wigs off when they were becoming too much.
Besties in the Cast
The actresses that played Eloise Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington are best friends in real life.
Fans absolutely loved the onscreen relationship between Eloise and Penelope so we’re sure you guys are thrilled to discover their off-screen friendship is just as strong! They’ve even been given a name combo: Peneloise. So maybe we can do that with their real names…Jessie and Nicola could be, Nessie?
Initial Costume Fittings Could Take up to Four Hours
Generally, costume fittings are super quick. You try the clothes on, 1-3, pins are places for adjustments (if needed), and then you’re outta there. That wasn’t the case, however, for the elaborate Bridgerton costumes.
Each period costume had a number of different pieces, some of which can’t even be seen on camera but are integral to the outfit. In order for the costumes to be tailored to a T, each piece had to be individually fitted and adjusted. Initially, trying them on and pinning for adjustments could — and often did — take around four hours!
The Cast Had an Intimate Coordinator for the More Risque Scenes
Yes, you read that right, an “intimacy coordinator” was brought in to work with cast members on choreography for the bedroom scenes.
But what is an intimacy coordinator? Well, their job is to arrive with all kinds of props, yoga balls and mats, and foam cutouts that can be used to position the body correctly without showing them on camera and allowing the actors to feel comfortable. The scenes were, in a sense, choreographed down to each hand movement, just like the dances.
The Cast Was Required to Learn Etiquette and Hobbies of the Regency-era Upper Class
In order to get into character, the actors were required to learn certain skills of the time.
Depending on what character you played, they learned a wide range of skills including etiquette, horseback riding, dancing (obviously), singing, piano lessons, and pistol shooting (to name a few). The actors were given a strict and packed schedule leading up to the actual filming of the show.
The Luck of the Irish Came in Handy for Caughlin and the Dancing
All of the ball scenes were planned out ahead of time, so actors didn’t get to choose which of the dances they’d be learning. Luckily enough for Irish actress Nicola Caughlin, the dance she was given happened to be an Irish jig!
The jig is called The Siege of Ennis and is apparently a very popular dance in Ireland. Caughlin happened to have known the dance from the age of five.
Daphne’s Look Was Actually Based on Audrey Hepburn
If you’ve ever seen the movie “War and Peace,” you might recognize Hepburn’s look on Daphne Bridgerton. The movie was released in 1956 and inspired one of Daphne’s ball hairstyles.
The overall appearance is reminiscent of Hepburn’s in the movie, but the curled bangs and tiara are the real finishing touch. There’s even a similarity in features between Hepburn and Dynevor!
Some of the Racier Scenes Were Inspired by Mr. Darcy
Specifically, Colin Firth and his iconic soaked shirt. If you’re familiar with the 1995 BBC adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” you might notice some mimicking in various parts of Bridgerton.
Showrunner Chris Van Dusen said he wanted to create a scene that was a nod to Colin Firth’s wet shirt moment when he comes out of the lake…but make it even more provocative.
Fans of the Books Actually Influenced Penelope’s Character
Okay, so it’s not that the fans directly told Nicola Caughlin, who plays Penelope Featherington, how to play the role. However, they did have an inadvertent influence.
Nicola says she turned to online fan pages of the book for advice on how the character should be played and how fans saw her. She discovered how beloved of a character Penelope actually was and wanted to do right by her character and the fans.
Bridgerton’s Director of Photography Had the Same Role for Dirty Dancing!
Okay, we all know the classic 1987 film “Dirty Dancing” with a most handsome Patrick Swayze and perfectly naive Jennifer Grey. And if you haven’t seen the movie, we implore you to go watch it immediately.
Well, Bridgerton’s director of photography, Jeffrey Jur, was also the DP for that iconic movie, which surely helped him shoot all the ball scenes. The cast absolutely loved him and even had shirts with Jur’s face on them made by the director’s assistant.
The Bridgerton and Featherington Families Have Their Own Symbols
Although these were unspoken themes, the producers and writers actually wove into the story recurring symbols for each of these prominent households.
If you have a sharp enough eye, you might catch the bees for the Bridgertons and butterflies for the Featheringtons. The themes were placed both on the costumes, as well as reflected in their hairstyles, on occasion.
This Wasn’t the First Time Shonda Rhimes Worked with Julie Andrews
Everyone loves Julie Andrews. And you might already know that she voices Lady Whistledown. Well, it turns out Shonda Rhimes had worked with Andrews already on another project!
Rhimes actually wrote the screenplay for “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement,” and we all know that Andrews plays the beloved Queen of the fictional Genovia in those classic movies.