12 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About 'Bridgerton'
It goes without saying that Shondaland and Netflix’s Bridgerton is a masterpiece of pure magic. Ever since we binge-watched our way through the period drama, adapted from Julia Quinn’s bestselling romance novels, we’ve been trying to fill our lives with everything Bridgerton-related while we wait for season two to drop. From making our way through the 10 best shows like the Regency-era series to styling our homes with Bridgerton-inspired interiors, you could definitely say we’re a little obsessed.
But just as we all thought we knew everything about the breakout drama, we’ve slowly come to realise there are many behind-the-scenes secrets we were unaware of. So, without further ado, we’re sharing all the juicy secrets about the show to help fuel your obsession.
12 interesting facts you didn’t know about Bridgerton
1. It’s far from historically accurate
Although the Netflix hit series is set in a Regency-era, it portrays a diverse reimagining of London’s high society during the 19th century.
"It's not a history lesson, it's not a documentary," the creator of Bridgerton Chris Van Dusen, said in an interview with The Daily Express. "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."
"Even though we're set in the 19th century, we wanted things to feel relatable,” Van Dusen added. “We wanted audiences to see themselves in these characters.”
2. There were over 7,500 costume pieces
The show’s production had its own costume house with a wardrobe curated from thousands of handmade pieces, with clothing and jewellery brought in from countries all over the world.
"They wore a different dress to every ball, aside from the amount of dresses that would take place from morning ‘til dinner,'' costume designer Ellen Mirojnick told Harper's Bazaar. "So we knew just roughly that this was going to be a large, large endeavour.”
Phoebe Dyvenor, who played Daphne Bridgerton, had 104 costume changes over the eight episodes.
3. Julia Quinn’s original novels didn’t include Black lead characters
It’s hard to imagine Bridgerton without its diverse cast, but Quinn’s original novels didn’t include Black lead characters at all. It was Van Dusen and Rhimes who made the executive decision to lead a diverse cast.
"I think that working with historians, it became very clear that 19th century Regency London was a lot more diverse and a lot more colorful than people thought it to be," Van Dusen told publication Collider.
4. A few of the show’s iconic hairstyles were based on real-life celebrities
In an interview with Insider in January 2021, Bridgerton’s hair and makeup artist Marc Pilcher said he based Daphne’s curled bags on Audrey Hepburn’s unforgettable look from the 1956 War and Peace.
"When I did Daphne's first fittings she had these amazing eyebrows and the looks that we started doing reminded me of Audrey Hepburn," he told the publication.
But it wasn’t just Daphne’s look that was inspired by other movie characters - Queen Charlotte’s Afro was based on Beyonce’s hair from Austin Powers in Goldmember, and Lady Featherington’s updo was inspired by “red-headed Elizabeth Taylor”.
5. One of Queen Charlotte’s wigs was so heavy that it had to be removed during breaks
The wig Queen Charlotte (played by Golda Rocheuvel) wore to Daphne and Simon’s wedding party was the heaviest wig of the series and was weighed down by a mass of braids, which Rocheuvel had the difficult task of balancing on her head.
“We just made sure that whenever Golda had a break, we would always take it off because even though they’re bigger, they’re actually quite easy to keep coming on and off,” Pilcher said.
Rocheuvel agreed in an interview with OprahMag.com, explaining it was much better to experience the look as a viewer.
"They are pieces of beauty, you know; stand out, beautiful pieces on their own," she explained. "Wearing them, sometimes was a challenge. I'll be honest. The weight of them is quite something. But keep yourself fit, eat healthily, a lot of core muscle and back muscle exercises. And you know, they are a pleasure to wear (I say with a little twinkle in my eye.)"
6. An ‘intimacy director’ coordinated the show’s racy scenes
In an attempt to create a professional safe space for the actors during those raunchy scenes, intimacy director Lizzy Talbot was hired to direct the sexual and romantic moments. These were then rehearsed in the weeks leading up to filming it.
“We rehearsed all the intimacy scenes weeks and weeks before we started to do things,” Dynevor told Harper’s Bazaar in a January 2021 interview.
“I think that was really beneficial to us as well, because by the time we got to set, we knew what we were doing. We felt really comfortable.”
7. Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice soaked-shirt scene inspired some of the series' racier scenes
If you observe closely enough, you’ll notice the 1995 BBC TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is emulated in some parts of Bridgerton.
Van Dusen specifically said he wanted to intertwine Mr Darcy’s iconic wet shirt moment into the series, but make it more provocative.
“Obviously Colin Firth coming out of that lake with the white shirt is seared in my mind,” Van Dusen told the Los Angeles Times in a December 2020 interview. “But I wanted to see a period piece that went further than that.”
8. Penelope's character was influenced by fans of the Bridgerton book series
Nicola Coughlan, who played Penelope Featherington, told The Guardian in an interview that she turned to the book’s fan pages to seek advice on how she should portray her on-screen character.
"I spent a lot of time lurking on online book forums to see what fans thought," Coughlan said. "I realised that [Penelope] is this really beloved character, because she's not this perfect girl that all the boys love."
"She's a complete wallflower," she continued. "So I thought, 'OK, I really, really wanna do that justice.'"
9. The real Queen of England disrupted the show’s filming
Van Husen revealed on Twitter that the scene where the Duke and Daphne are pleading the legitimacy of their relationship to Queen Charlotte, was put under a time constraint because the real Queen Elizabeth needed the space to host an event.
We had very limited time to shoot this scene before Her Majesty (the real one) needed the space @ Lancaster House, London #Bridgerton https://t.co/dRIxUTkA6T— Chris Van Dusen (@chrisvandusen) January 1, 2021
10. Jonathan Bailey first auditioned to play Simon
You can’t really imagine anyone else playing the Duke of Hastings other than the swoon-worthy Regé-Jean Page, but Jonathan Bailey (who plays Anthony Bridgerton) told OprahMag.com that he originally auditioned for the role.
"It wasn’t until I was talking to the production company and Chris Van Dusen, the showrunner, and at the end of the meeting we’d spoken about family, and men in society, and women in society, and our own personal experiences," he told the publication. "And they said, 'Have you thought about Anthony? We’re gonna send you some scripts to read because we think you might be an Anthony.'"
He continued: "Ultimately it’s really exciting when you’re told the character you should be thinking about. Because no one wants to go and see Hamlet played by someone who wants to play Hamlet. They saw something in me, and they were like 'Go on, you can do it.'"
11. The Duke of Hasting’s house was filmed at multiple locations
To create the grandeur look of the Hastings estate, three different filming locations were used - Wilton House in Wiltshire, Syon House in Brentford and Badminton House in Gloucestershire.
12. Simon’s boxing friend Will Mondrich, was based on a real fighter
Martins Imhangbe, who played the Duke of Hasting’s friend and professional boxer Will Mondrich, told GQ UK that his character was based on the real 19th century fighter Bill Richmond who was born a slave in America and rose to become the first Black sporting star.
“He found a lot of favour in society due to his charisma and his boxing ability,” Imhangbe told the publication. “He used boxing as a way out and as a way to provide for himself and his family. In the first season we see the early stages of Will trying to build that reputation and who he is.”
Want more Bridgerton? As we await season two, we recommend Sanditon – another period drama TV show that fans are obsessed with.