Ever since raunchy new period drama Bridgerton landed on Netflix, viewers have been comparing it to everything from Pride and Prejudice and Marie Antoinette to Gossip Girl.
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However, there’s one comparison actor Regé-Jean Page, who stars as dashing duke Simon Bassett in the series, isn’t so keen to embrace. Appearing on Monday's BBC Breakfast, the British-Zimbabwean actor brushed off host Dan Walker’s suggestions that the new Netflix show is the streaming giant’s response to Downton Abbey.
"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,” Regé-Jean said speaking via video link from his home in L.A.
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He continued: “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.”
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Despite the actor’s comments, the two shows do share a connection as Bessie Carter, who plays Prudence Featherington, is the real-life daughter of Downton stars Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton. Jim played butler Carson in the long-running ITV drama while Imelda appeared in the film as Maud Bagshaw, the Queen’s lady-in-waiting and cousin of the Crawleys.
Bessie Carter, daughter of Downton Abbey's Jim Carter, makes her Netflix debut in Bridgerton
Regé-Jean, 30, also spoke about how he got into character for his role as the Duke of Hastings, who he describes as “tall, dark, broody and thoroughly broken but also charming when he wants to be”. He explained to hosts Dan and Louise that he and the rest of the cast were given lessons on high society etiquette including the rules of curtseying for everyone from "the queen to servants".
While the new period drama has been largely praised, a controversial scene in episode six has sparked a debate around consent as some viewers complained about an intimate scene between protagonist Daphne, played by Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean's character.
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