In case you've suddenly moved underground and haven't heard about the latest masterpiece by TV producer powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, let us introduce you to Bridgerton.
The eight-episode series debuted on Netflix on Christmas Day, just in time to fulfill all of our holiday binge watching needs. Based on Julia Quinn's series of novels, it features a colourful cast, scandalous love affairs, a critical analysis of classism – oh, and it's set in the 19th century and is also highly addictive.
The show uses stripped-back covers of popular music and elaborate costumes to transport us back in time. And one element of the series that's very welcome is its deliberately diverse cast.
Adjoa is fresh in our minds for her portrayal as Lady Danbury, but she made her Hollywood debut years ago in a starring role alongside Morgan Freeman in Invictus in 2009.
Prior to her film work, Adjoa was quite an accomplished theatre performer who had starred in Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida and The Odyssey. With all her Shakespeare experience, it's no surprise the actress was able to effortlessly portray a 19th century aristocrat.
Prior to appearing as the beloved and unapologetically progressive Eloise Bridgerton, Claudia brought her talents to the award-winning web series Dixi.
In an interview with Belfast Telegraph, she proclaimed she is a vegan, Buddhist minimalist who grew up on a houseboat. In short, her portrayal of a modern woman who plays by her own rules is not a far departure from Claudia's life. Safe to say, this has made us love her character even more.
While we haven't seen Ruth in a starring role for quite some time, her last major part is definitely something to note. She gave a memorable performance in Fever Pitch in 1997, where she starred alongside Colin Firth.
The star's past projects include playing Lady Macbeth, and she also had a prominent role in Silent Witness, the longest-running crime drama on British television.
If the longevity of her past work is any indication of what success will look like for Bridgerton, then we are all here for it.
While his role as Viscount Anthony Bridgerton may have solidified his place as one of the many heartthrobs on the show, the openly gay actor has had prominent roles quite a few times in his career.
In 2011, he played Leonardo Di Vinci in Leonardo. Like many of his co-stars, theatre performance is one of his many talents. He even won the 2019 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a supporting role in a musical for his work in Jamie in Company.
Phoebe's debut as Daphne Bridgerton has audiences everywhere captivated, and while this may be most people's first introduction to the British actress, she comes from a long line of performers. Her mother is famed British actress Sally Dynevor, known her role as Sally Webster on Coronation Street, the world's longest-running television soap opera.
And as for the chemistry palpable chemistry we witnessed between her and co-star Regé-Jean Page, according to a Good Morning America interview, they were able to bond through their multiple dance rehearsals. Phoebe called it "a wonderful way to get to know someone [...] because they have to literally catch you when you fall."
In a Zoom interview with Variety, Rege-Jean admitted to having never really read a romance novel prior to his role as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. The 31-year-old describes the show as a mashup between Jane Austen meets Gossip Girl meets "45 shades of grey."
When asked what it was like to be a part of such an inclusive cast, the star noted, "If it is this great big Cinderella fantasy with great big balls and dances and jewels and glamour, why would you limit who gets to receive that?"
Martins gave a highly believable performance in his role as star boxer Will Mondrich.
In an interview with GQ, the British actor revealed his character was based on the life of real life boxer Bill Richmond, who was the first black boxing entrepreneur of the 19th century.
— Martins (@MartinsImhangbe) December 26, 2020
How did Martins get in shape for the role once gyms shut down during quarantine? Casual five kilometre runs, five days a week!
Nicola's Penelope Featherington is arguably the most layered character in the entire series. As each episode goes on, we learn more and more about the youngest Featherington daughter.
And it just so happens there is a lot of depth to Nicola as well. She is no stranger to speaking out against the harsh criticism women face in the media.
She wrote an essay for The Guardian calling out theatre critics who made harmful remarks about the bodies of women in the industry.
She also made headlines when she clapped back to critics who said diversity in a period drama took away from the show. In a series of tweets the actress said, "You know the way some people were like, 'Diversity in period drama doesn't work' [...] 63 million households thought it did, so..."
You can stream season 1 of Bridgerton on Netflix right now!