Lady Whistledown would appreciate this kind of clap back, we think!
If you haven’t already binged all of Bridgerton, you’re missing out. The wildly successful period drama, best described as a Regency-era Gossip Girl, features Julie Andrews as the nosy narrator Lady Whistledown, uncovering the sexy scandals and eyebrow-raising romances of Britain’s high society.
Like all Shondaland shows, the Netflix series is a delicious drama with a diverse cast. The presence of non-white actors in the ensemble and the lead cast is a welcome change from your typical period piece. Bridgerton’s Black nobility isn’t simply colorblind casting, either — in the show, it’s the result of Queen Charlotte (an actual historical figure who is believed to have been mixed-race in real life) opening the doors for other Black people in the court.
Of course, plenty of viewers had thoughts about the “historical inaccuracy” of such a diverse cast. But those complaints didn’t stop anyone from watching — in fact, Bridgerton was apparently Netflix’s fifth biggest original release ever.
Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington in the series, celebrated the incredible viewership on Twitter. She tweeted:
“63 Million is like….I don’t even understand that as a number”
She also had something to say for the series’ critics, writing:
“You know the way some people were like ‘Diversity in period drama doesn’t work’….63 million households thought it did tho so ”
“Remember people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB cos it was so diverse? You can’t downvote us being Netflix fifth biggest original release ever”
Remember people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB cos it was so diverse?
You can’t downvote us being Netflix fifth biggest original release ever pic.twitter.com/dK806kUwhA
— Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) January 5, 2021
Adjoa Andoh, who plays the formidable Lady Danbury, reflected on the diverse casting choices in an interview with Digital Spy. She said:
“There’s real evidence of Black people in this country for centuries. We’ve taken the factual existence of Black people in this country at that time, which is an absolute nailed-on fact and heightened it. The fact that people don’t know about it is more about the bad way we teach history than about Bridgerton shoving stuff in that doesn’t exist. … We’re not making this stuff up. In that sense, we’re putting history back into history.”
Similarly, the series’ romantic lead Regé-Jean Page, aka the dreamy Duke of Hastings, told the outlet that “it’s a relief” to bring such a diverse production to Netflix’s 190 territories across the world. He explained:
“This is an audience that’s 21st century, that is wider than it’s ever been. And I think ignoring large swathes of that audience and how you cast your stories and who you tell stories about is not something that we’re ready to do anymore. So I’m glad that we’re serving everyone as they should be, that we’re representing more people than before.”
Yeah, haven’t we all agreed by now that “historical accuracy” complaints are just thinly veiled racism? It’s LONG past time for our media to reflect the diversity of its audience. Plus, anyone with complaints about a dreamboat like Regé-Jean Page as the lead is completely lacking in taste. Haters can have their bland, whitewashed period pieces and leave the fun stuff for the rest of us!
[Image via Netflix/YouTube & Nicola Coughlan/Instagram]