Why Bridgerton is being dubbed the new Downton Abbey

Bridgerton is being likened to ITV drama Downton Abbey and you'll be surprised why...

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bridgerton is taking Netflix by storm and the Regency era drama has been likened to ITV period drama Downton Abbey - but its likeness is not for what you think...

Aside from the lavish costumes and the stately home, for it's the saucy scripts which are helping to raise the show's popularity. And even the cast are drawing comparisons to the long-running UK series of Downton Abbey. 

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, actor Regé-Jean Page, who plays Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings in the drama, said: "I don't know if we’re the answer to Downton Abbey, I think we might be Downton Abbey’s wayward sibling possibly, considerably more scandalous."

While we're still waiting to hear news on a second season of Bridgerton, Downton Abbey successfully ran for six series - with beloved characters such as Mr Carson and Lady Mary - and was also turned into a feature length film in 2019.

He went on to explain the different approach which producers aimed for with Bridgerton. "I think the idea we had with Bridgerton was very much in the early conversations, to do something fresh and exciting and entirely more fun, fast, funny and glamorous than has been done before in the period genre," he said.

"It’s kind of meant to be something a bit kind of colourful and fluffy for Christmas, hopefully like a big, warm Regency hug to help you get through a festive period that’s been a little bit different for everyone this year."

But the raunchy new period drama has also been described as Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey, and sees Regé-Jean play a mysterious and rebellious character.

Speaking about his role, Regé-Jean described his character as "tall, dark, broody and thoroughly broken”,  "but also very charming when he wants to be".

He said: "He can do better than your least objectionable option I suppose but that’s kind of the journey we take him on through the series.

"I was very interested in kind of examining what makes this tall, dark and broken archetype attractive to begin with, what is attractive about our Darcys and our Heathcliffs and how can we bring a 21st century conversation into that."

Meanwhile make sure you're not sat around with your parents if you easily embarrass when watching sex scenes as Bridgerton definitely has its fair share.

Speaking with Grazia about her sex scenes, Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton, said: "My first-ever scene was in episode six, where Simon is going down on Daphne. And it was so great, because it felt safe and fun: you choreograph it like a stunt, or a dance. It's crazy to me that [an intimacy coordinator] hasn't been there in the past."

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.