Bridgerton: Netflix announce second season of hit show
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Bridgerton arrived on Netflix on Christmas Day in 2020 and it was the perfect gift for fans of the Julia Quinn novels. The scandalous series has been described as being in the same vein as Gossip Girl, as it stars an anonymous spiller of secrets. Express.co.uk has all you need to know about the real-life gossip columnist who inspired Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews).
Was Lady Whistledown a real person?
Bridgerton is set during Regency London amid the marriage season when debutants would set out to find their perfect suitor.
Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) was the eldest daughter in the Bridgerton family and she was next in line to find a match.
Wanting to experience love as her parents had, she was determined to find the right man, but it was not that easy.
In the end, she came up with a pact with Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), the Duke of Hastings, to fool everyone into thinking they were an item.
While the series is centred around their relationship, the mysterious Lady Whistledown could be seen as the star of the show.
Viewers turned into detectives as they joined younger sibling Eloise (Claudia Jessie) in her mission to reveal the gossip columnist’s identity.
Lady Whistledown started a gossip sheet as the marriage season kicked off, and she knew the ins and outs of everyone’s relationships.
Her identity was finally revealed at the end as Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and there was, in fact, a real gossip writer who inspired the character.
There are historical references to Lady Whistledown as in the 18th century there was a woman known as Mrs Crackenthorpe.
The English writer would sign a gossip column which formed part of the Female Tatler magazine.
The magazine was only in circulation for a year from 1709 to 1710 but it marked a huge milestone for female authors.
Crackenthorpe was considered to have known all the town gossip and she acted as an anonymous author, much like Lady Whistledown.
The publication she wrote for was described by author Catherine Curzon as a “jewel of satire” – something Lady Whistledown too was proud of.
Satirical pamphlets and gossip sheets were popular during the Regency period, with many focusing on fashion and affairs.
Geri Wilson, a specialist in 18th and 19th-century history, told Town & Country Magazine that newspapers and magazines would include anything that sparked controversy.
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The idea was to increase readership and so rumour, gossip and insight into the debutantes on the marriage scene were hot topics.
The magazines tended to focus on aristocrats and socialites who had a lot to lose when it came to their reputation.
Similarly, Lady Whistledown turned her attention to the most highly sought after young women.
In an article called The History and Authorship of Mrs Crackenthorpe’s “Female Tatler”, Paul Bunyan Anderson said her gossip sheet was a rival to Tatler.
He said: “Mrs Crackenthorpe presented herself modestly as Mr Bickerstaff’s fellow-labourer in a co-operative enterprise, occupying with her periodical the ‘contrary days’ not taken by the Tatler, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
He added: “The omniscient Mrs Crackenthorpe has never been identified,” although she was believed to have been a woman called Mrs Manley.
The Female Tatler was one of the first periodicals primarily aimed at women and it was admired for its “lively wit and scathing satire”.
A total of 111 issues were published and there are archives of the texts at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
Lady Whistledown recently informed fans of how the series had been renewed for a second season.
The character updates the Brigderton social media feeds, so viewers can keep up to date with all the latest gossip.
Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix now
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