How accurate is ‘Bridgerton’s’ tale of sex and scandal in Regency England? We asked

You’ve probably never seen a period piece quite like “Bridgerton” before.

Set in 1813 London, the juicy drama, from executive producer Shonda Rhimes, follows beautiful young aristocrat Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her social debut with the goal of marrying for love.

Based on the novels by Julia Quinn, “Bridgerton” consciously takes some license with history: The romantic lead, the dashing Simon Basset, a.k.a. the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page), is Black, as is Queen Charlotte — a real-life monarch believed to have descended from a Portuguese noble line with African ancestry but who did not bring about a sea change in race relations in Britain or its empire, which abolished slavery in 1833.

“Bridgerton” also goes there when it comes to sex — which, of course, was part of everyday life in Regency England.

“I was obsessed with the 1995 BBC ‘Pride & Prejudice.’ Obviously, Colin Firth coming out of that lake with the white shirt is seared in my mind,” says creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen, a veteran of the Shondaland series “Scandal,” not exactly known for its restraint. “But I wanted to see a period piece that went further than that.”

Daphne — who is ignorant of the birds and the bees on her wedding night — might seem naive to contemporary viewers, but when it comes to courtship, marriage and sex, “Bridgerton” adheres to a certain level of social realism, even if it gets much more graphic than Jane Austen ever did.

Executive producer Shonda Rhimes gives Regency-era London the “Scandal” treatment in her first project for the streamer, based on the romances of Julia Quinn.

“I refer to this season as ‘the education of Daphne Bridgerton,’” says Van Dusen. “She starts out as this young innocent debutante who knows very little of love. Continue reading ›