The sound of moolah! Julie Andrews gets £1.5million for narrating Netflix’s new regency drama Bridgerton
- Dame Julie Andrews will earn £1.5m despite never appearing on screen in series
- The 85-year-old narrates the new big-budget Netflix series titled Bridgerton
- She describes scandals in Regency high society in salacious detail shocking fans
Dame Julie Andrews is set to make a staggering £1.5 million from this year’s Christmas TV hit Bridgerton – without ever having to appear on screen, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
As narrator of the big-budget Netflix series, the 85-year-old describes scandals in Regency high society in salacious detail – which has come as a shock to fans who know her only for family-friendly roles in The Sound Of Music or Mary Poppins.
In the opening episode she says: ‘It has been said that of all bitches dead or alive, a scribbling woman is most canine.’ It prompted one viewer to comment: ‘Julie Andrews as a high-end gossip girl is shocking and thrilling in equal measure.’
The period drama is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn, who said that when Dame Julie agreed to play the unseen role of gossipy Lady Whistletown, ‘I legitimately stopped breathing.’
And Chris Van Dusen, who is in charge of the production, has said: ‘She was always top of our wish-list. She gets to say the most scathing things… most non-typical of Julie Andrews. It’s been a blast.’
Dame Julie Andrews is set to make a staggering £1.5 million from this year’s Christmas TV hit Bridgerton
Critics have lauded the £5 million-an-episode show for subverting period drama by having a multiracial cast, including a black Queen Charlotte, racy sex scenes and a string quartet playing classical versions of modern hits.
A source told The Mail on Sunday that the series, about the Bridgerton siblings’ quest to marry well in 1813, has received record viewing figures. They added: ‘It’s already been renewed for a second season but there are enough books to keep this going for a decade.
‘Netflix is hoping Bridgerton will become a Christmas tradition. It’s on track to become Netflix’s most-watched show after The Crown. It’s a real bonk-buster and it has turned period dramas upside-down. This show is designed to push boundaries but it’s a brilliant confection.’
The programme, which shows same-sex relationships and a female character pleasuring herself, hired an intimacy co-ordinator to meticulously choreograph the bedroom action in the same way that a fight sequence would be planned to ‘avoid any surprises’.
As narrator of the big-budget Netflix series, the 85-year-old describes scandals in Regency high society in salacious detail
Bridgerton looks set to make stars out of the largely British cast, including Rege-Jean Page, who plays the roguish Duke of Hastings, Golda Rosheuvel, who is Queen Charlotte, and Phoebe Dynevor, (the daughter of Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Webster in Coronation Street) as Daphne Bridgerton.
Page, 30, who was raised in Zimbabwe before moving to London as a teenager, is being hailed as Hollywood’s hottest new leading man. A producer with Disney Studios said: ‘Everyone wants Rege-Jean for their next project. He’s the breakout star. He’s a great actor who everyone falls in love with.’
Page says playing a black love interest in Regency England ‘is a critical opportunity’, adding: ‘Setting the story in the past doesn’t mean that black folks do nothing but suffer. We’ve always lived and laughed and loved and married just the same as everyone else.’
Producers were also keen to ensure that there was not a bonnet in sight. New York-based costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and a team of 238 people spent five months making all 7,500 costumes from scratch – a task virtually unheard of for period dramas that would normally hire the majority of outfits.
A source told The Mail on Sunday that the series, about the Bridgerton siblings’ quest to marry well in 1813, has received record viewing figures
While the Bridgerton women are draped in pastel pink and blue hues befitting of an upper-class Regency family, the nouveau-riche Featheringtons are much tackier.
‘We’ve made them over-decorated, over-zealous and over the top,’ Mirojnick said. ‘It’s definitely gaudy. But if you think it looks ugly, that’s OK. Being 100 per cent historically correct was not on our agenda at all.’
Fans have already noticed other anachronistic bloopers including a ball illuminated with hundreds of light bulbs, 50 years before they were invented, and rebellious Eloise Bridgerton chain-smoking a form of cigarettes not introduced to England until the 1830s.
Following the success of the show, Quinn’s books have been re-released and are set to top the bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic.
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