Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page has said the series is like “Downton Abbey’s wayward sibling”, but “considerably more scandalous”.
Netflix’s raunchy new romantic period drama, described as Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey, sees Page playing the mysterious and rebellious Duke of Hastings.
It follows Phoebe Dynevor’s character, Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family, as she makes her debut on Regency London’s competitive marriage market.
Page told BBC Breakfast: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Zimbabwe-born Page, 30, described the character of Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, as “tall, dark, broody and thoroughly broken”, adding: “But also very charming when he wants to be.”
The actor, who also starred in legal drama For The People, said he was interested in exploring the particular breed of masculinity of such a character.
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.”
Page also spoke about his recent role as Prince Charming in BBC Two’s Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime For Christmas, which also starred Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and James Bond star Daniel Craig.
He said: “That was an absolute joy. I was on a 10-hour zoom call with Olivia Colman and Anya Taylor-Joy and Helena Bonham Carter – like literal Netflix and acting royalty and it was anarchic and hilarious and kind of really just good fun.
“Again I think the theme of this year is that we need entertainment to try and remind us of the connections that we’ve lost and kind of brighten up what’s been a very challenging Christmas… I’ve had a very busy Christmas and I’m honoured to be in that kind of company.”
Bridgerton is the first series from Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes’s production company Shondaland, following her lucrative deal with the streaming giant.
It also stars Dame Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown, an anonymous and mysterious gossip writer.
Over six series ITV’s lavish Downton Abbey, created by Julian Fellowes, chronicled the fortunes of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home.
Bridgerton is currently streaming on Netflix.