Bridgerton, the raunchy Regency costume drama which became one of the most talked about television shows of 2020, has been renewed for two further series.
The show was named as Netflix’s most watched original series earlier this year with more than 82m escapism-hungry households binge-watching the eight episode first series.
Set in 1813, the drama documents aristocratic family rivalries and intrigues always introduced by the narrator Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), author of a scurrilous newsletter dishing the gossip on who is sleeping with whom.
A second series is already in production, and now the news that seasons three and four have been commissioned has been broken by Vanity Fair.
Shonda Rhimes, creator of shows including Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, told the magazine she became obsessed with making the drama after reading the original bestselling Bridgerton novels by writer Julia Quinn.
She made her fellow producer, Betsy Beers, read the books and it went from there. “We had been very focused on this as a project,” said Rhimes. “We have a bunch of other projects going at the same time, but we had really been specific about this one. We knew what we wanted it to be.”
It’s not Jane Austen, more of a Georgian Gossip Girl – only ruder. It was also praised for its diverse cast, a result of producers opting for “colour-conscious” casting.
The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan suggested the show was a moreish treat. “I felt by the end of the first episode it had delighted me with its presence long enough, and yet … and yet … Was there not, after all, room for just one more? And, perhaps, another after that?”
The second series will begin filming in the UK in the next few weeks and will follow the story of the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony, played by British actor Jonathan Bailey. It will be “more about me and my bum”, he recently told the Guardian.
The Sex Education star Simone Ashley will play the female lead in Anthony’s story arc, appearing as Kate.
News of two more series comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Regé-Jean Page, the dreamboat Duke of Hastings from season one, will not be returning to the series.
Millions of hearts were broken but Page is now 11/8 favourite with one bookmaker to succeed Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.