If the trailer for Bridgerton, the first Netflix series from Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes, is any indication then Regency England was quite the place for gossips and queer folks. Starring Jonathan Bailey and featuring the voice of Dame Julie Andrews, the eight-episode series follows the siblings of the wealthy Bridgerton family as they navigate the competitive elite social scene of the early 19th century, a world turned upside-down by the scandalous writings of a mysterious Lady Whistledown (voiced by Andrews) who seems to know and reveal everyone’s dirty little secrets. Yes, it's Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey.
The story follows Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) as she debuts in London’s high society marriage market under the watchful eye of her older brother (portrayed by Bailey of Broadchurch, Leonardo, and Doctor Who fame). When he rejects suitor after suitor for her, the wealthy debutante soon becomes the subject of Lady Whistledown’s column. As a result, she is forced into an arrangement with the rebellious Duke of Hastings (portrayed by Regé-Jean Page). Things becomes even more complicated when sparks start fly between the two, still the most eligible catches of the season despite the gossip.
The trailer reveals at least a few steamy same-sex love scenes with Bailey. The project is out December 25.
The series is the first for Rhimes and her Shondaland production company under a multi-year massive-dollar development deal with the streamer. Chris Van Dusen is showrunner for the series, which is based on the book series by Julia Quinn. Bridgerton also stars Nicola Coughlan, Claudia Jessie, Ruby Barker, Adjoa Andoh, Golda Rosheuvel, Luke Thompson, Luke Newton, Ruby Stokes, Will Tilston, Florence Hunt, Ruth Gemmell, Bessie Carter, Harriet Cains, Polly Walker, Ben Miller, Sabrina Bartlett, Martins Imhangbe and Lorraine Ashbourne.
Another series in the pipeline from the Netflix deal is Inventing Anna. That show, built around the real-life story of Anna Sorkin, a girl who scammed Manhattan-elite, features the likes of the Emmy-nominated Laverne Cox and the Tony-nominated James Cusati-Moyer.