Netflix’s period drama Bridgerton has lifted spirits in lockdown.

So what do you think of when you put Downton Abbey together with Desperate Housewives? The new period drama Bridgerton seems like the perfect combination of the two.

Based on Julia Quinn’s best selling romance novels, set in 1813 London, the new Netflix series is a witty, charming and refreshing take on the classic “will they or won’t they” Regency-era courting tale.

Chris Van Dusen, creator of the TV series, does a sterling job in working with something old and adding a new twist to give it a fresh touch. With it’s diverse casting, most of the actors give an effortless performance and really bring these luxurious regal characters to life each in their own unique way.

The story centres on the Bridgerton household and their rivalry with the Featherington family as the mothers prepare their daughters for the social season of finding matches for marriage.

Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor, the eldest daughter in the family, falls in love with the charming young Duke of Hastings Simon Basset, played by Regé-Jean Page, after a honey pot scheme they planned goes wrong. The pair agrees to fool everyone and pretend to court each other, but as they grow closer and spend more time together, they begin to develop an unplanned sexual desire for one another. 

Although the sex scenes between Daphne and Simon are quite raunchy, they were tastefully orchestrated by the production’s intimacy co-ordinator Lizzie Talbot, who conducted lots of rehearsal sessions to help the actors feel comfortable with the scenes. Talbot succeeded in making these moment feel as authentic as possible and the actors performed them really well, in a way that showed the characters natural desire for each other.

Meanwhile, the determined Lady Portia Fetherington, played by Polly Walker, is desperate to marry off her three daughters and she does her very best to help them find their perfect match. However, Walker portrays Featherington’s struggle to achieve her goal of assisting her daughters, especially when distant cousin Miss Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker) gets all the male attention after she arrives to stay for the season. Walker’s delightful presence on screen makes you want to dive more into her storyline and explore the journey her character goes on.

One actress who, in my eyes, stole the show with her fascinating characterisation choices and dedication to the role was Claudia Jesse who plays the delightfully inquisitive Eloise Bridgerton. Jesse shows great charisma and gives us light-hearted humour throughout the entire series. Eloise’s relationship with Penelope Featherington (played by Derry Girl’s Nicola Coughlan) is sweet and somewhat uplifting as the two feel like outsiders in their own families but seem to have a strong and joyful connection with each other, which is a pure enjoyment to watch. The pairs special moments together are a breath of fresh air that is normally pushed aside in other period drama that are too lost in the romance and tragedy,

Viewers have described the TV series as “pure indulgence” and that all eight episodes have such captivating endings, it leaves you wanting more. The elegant dances, majestic costumes and controversial characters definitely make the show enjoyable to watch, but there are also some moments that make you feel slightly uncomfortable.

Whilst I personally found it quite a mission to get past the first episode, I did find myself wanting to carry on with it. I thought “just one more episode won’t hurt” and then binge watched the whole season in one day! Bridgertonhas been a hit with so many fans across the world, so stop scrolling through Netflix, grab a cup of Earl Grey tea and give it a watch!

Overall, the series has a lot of powerful, memorable moments that make you feel intrigued to discover what is going to happen in Season 2. I am definitely looking forward to watching more!

This review was also written by Laura Scardarella in Bloom Magazine on 20th January.