Bridgerton review: This raunchy corset carry-on is just what we need right now 

Period drama Bridgerton on Netflix features a Derry Girl and the voice of Julie Andrews. as well  as having plenty more to keep you entertained over the next few days 
Bridgerton review: This raunchy corset carry-on is just what we need right now 

Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter and Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton, on Netflix.

It may be Christmas for you, but December 25 was the day Bridgerton started steaming on Netflix. Yes, steaming, it’s not a typo. This costume drama is full of layered, complex characters. The females are curvy and skinny, sexy and innocent, simmering and simpering, clever and clueless, powerful and powerless.

As for the males, well, there’s strapping britches-clad thighs everywhere. Two, in particular, are attached to a maverick baron with manscaped eyebrows... all the better to arch at us.

This colourful corset carry on is just what we need as we near the end of this trying year. , Our narrator is the mysterious Mrs Whistledown, she writes a high society scandal sheet and seems to know all the inside scoops, like an old-timey Gossip Girl, voiced by the inimitable Julie Andrews. She sets the scene, telling us this is the day that London’s marriage-minded misses are presented to the queen.

It’s basically a massive match-up sesh, set in Regency London, but with modern feminist twists everywhere. The juxtaposition of how women and men must behave, and how they are judged is set up early and nicely depicted by Daphne Bridgerton and her brother Anthony. While she’s hoisting herself into torturous undergarments and putting lead on her face for suitable suitors, we’re introduced to Anthony as he’s having a knee-trembler under a tree. A great man for the outdoors.  Produced by Shonda Rhimes, whose back-catalogue includes How to Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy, and based on the series of bodice-ripper novels by Julia Quinn, this was never going to be typical of the genre.

Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton, on Netflix. 
Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton, on Netflix. 

One of the interesting elements is the racially diverse casting, and black actors in the role of aristocrats; for instance, we have Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings, and Adjoa Andoh as the cane-swinging Lady Danbury.

Also watch out for our very own Derry Girl Nicola Coughlan playing Penelope Featherington.

With lavish costumes, cool orchestral reworkings of pop songs (it'll drive you mad trying to name that tune), and fascinating storylines set up to have us bingeing over Twixtmas, Bridgerton is the perfect festive gift to yourself.

Where do I know them from?

Jonathan Bailey plays Anthony Bridgerton: Bailey was a neurotic sexually-confused squatter in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brilliant Crashing in 2016, he was also in Broadchurch and Campus and he gives us a flash of his bottom in Bridgerton, but it is integral to the scene.

Regé-Jean Page plays Baron Hastings: His acting credits include a regular slot as Leonard Knox in Shonda Rhimes’ legal drama, For the People for ABC, he was in Fresh Meat and played Chicken George in the 2016 mini-series Roots.

Phoebe Dynevor is Daphne Bridgerton: Fun fact, she’s the daughter of Sally Dynevor who plays Sally Webster in Coronation Street. Phoebe’s credits include Younger, The Village and Snatch.

Julie Andrews is Lady Whistleton: The Oscar winner will be on our screens this Christmas, as with every Christmas since time began, as Mary Poppins, as Maria in the Sound of Music, as the Queen in the Princess Diaries.., and Shrek, actually. My strict word count prevents me listing all her stuff.

More in this section

Scene & Heard
Newsletter

Music, film art, culture, books and more from Munster and beyond.......curated weekly by the Irish Examiner Arts Editor.

Sign up