Bridgerton Star Claps Back After Fans Critique Diversity In The Netflix Show

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton

Shondaland’s Bridgerton has pretty much stayed at the forefront of Netflix’s top 10 list since its release on Christmas day. The show piqued viewers’ interest with its dramatic Gossip Girl-esque setup and the romantic, yet insanely provocative, scenes. The period drama is set in the early 1800s, a time where sex was pretty hush hush, which is why it may be a little odd to connect such a show so closely to steamy sex scenes. The risque quality of the show is far from the only thing that gives viewers a taste of the modern world.

Bridgerton may look the part of a period drama on the surface, but little pieces of our world today, like our music and a little thing called diversity, are very much amongst the gowns and culture of a time far gone. Some of these liberties taken by Shondaland have led to some negative critiques, but Nicola Coughland, who plays Penelope Featherington, is having none of that negativity.

Nicola Coughland recently stated on her Twitter account that people were downvoting Bridgerton on IMDB due to the diversity of its cast. After pointing out that the series holds the title of 5th biggest Netflix original release ever, a fact that she says can’t be downvoted, she added this little clapback:

You know the way some people were like ‘Diversity in period drama doesn’t work’....63 million households thought it did tho so.

Some of those households are in the comments of her post agreeing. They’ve got praise for Bridgerton’s seemingly bold decision to diversify the cast of a period drama, and they're applauding Coughland’s defense of the choice.

In addition to Bridgerton’s brilliant music department taking modern songs and making them into classical pieces throughout the show, the casting choices have also broken the mold of previous period shows and films. The show cast Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, making a person of color the highest ranking character. Although historically accurate in Queen Charlotte’s regard, the show also cast numerous other people of color to play characters in rich and powerful families, with the Duke of Hastings himself being both a star of the show and a man of color.

Those who have argued against Bridgerton's casting claim the diversity is not true to the time period - although, the naysayers don’t seem to have the same axe to grind about the music not being period appropriate. Nicola Coughland has a pretty solid counterpoint, too - this disparity does not seem to keep the majority of viewers from watching or enjoying the series, as viewers are already talking about a second season.

Is there such a thing as a modern day period drama? Bridgerton says yes, and it looks like the fans agree. CinemaBlend will continue to keep you updated on all things Bridgerton, including the possibility of a second season. Until then, check out our schedule of everything that's been announced to be coming to Netflix this year.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.