Lorraine Kelly talks 'fluffing' with Bridgerton's Jonathan Bailey

The first season of steamy new period drama Bridgerton caused a sensation following its release on Christmas Day. Based on Julia Quinn’s series of novels, the new Netflix drama has come under fire for the inclusion of one of the books’ most unpleasant sex scenes.

Bridgerton’s showrunner Chris Van Dusen has finally shared his reasons for including one of the most hotly contested TV scenes of the year in the first season of Netflix’s new period drama.

The first season quickly became one of the streaming site’s biggest hits of the year, drawing in over 60 million viewers since its release over the holidays.

Set against the backdrop of Regency London’s competitive married market, the series centres on a courtship of appearances between Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page).

Their spurious relationship eventually blossoms into a passionate affair, but crisis hits when Daphne learns of her husband’s vow to never have children.

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When she discovers the Duke has been lying about his motives, she forces him to reach completion in a particularly hard-to-watch sex scene in the second half of the season.

Van Dusen explained: “We had a lot of conversations around that specific incident in the book.

“I’ve always called this first season of the show, if it had a subtitle, it would be, ‘The Education of Daphne Bridgerton.’ That incident really goes along with that overall.”

The sequence in question has already prompted a wide range of critical thinkpieces, most recently from Cosmopolitan UK.

Many viewers felt Daphne’s exploitative actions romanticise toxic relationships and non-consensual sex, with Simon’s forced orgasm being tantamount to rape for some critics.

However, Van Dusen indicated Daphne’s manipulative bedroom techniques occur shortly after she first learns about sex, and before she learns consent shouldn’t be a grey area.

The showrunner continued: “That overarching theme that she starts out as this picture-perfect, wide-eyed, innocent debutante.

“And we watch her grow into this woman who gets to shed all of the constraints society has held her to, and she finally figures out who she really is and what she’s capable of.”

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Bridgerton’s intimate scenes start to heat up when Simon teaches Daphne about the details of sex and masturbation, info that often remained hidden from young women until their wedding night in the Regency Era.

Even so, the rigid traditions of Bridgerton’s period backdrop didn’t stop the first season from delivering one of the salacious sex scenes of 2020.

Some fans may be surprised to learn the skin-crawling moment was actually toned down in comparison to the events of Quinn’s original books.

In the first book of the series, The Duke and I, Simon responds even worse to their marital arguments and starts drinking heavily, prompting Daphne to take advantage of his weakened inhibitions.

Thankfully, Netflix’s adaptation of the sultry series didn’t go that far, though the Duke and Lady Bridgerton’s uneasy power dynamics still sparked debates over Christmas.

The series showrunner maintained the writers were conscious of the potential controversy, and will hopefully tread carefully if Bridgerton returns for a second season.

Finally, he added: “It’s a part of her journey. And we did discuss it a lot as far as how to approach it and how to handle it.”

There is still no word from Netflix on season two, but Bridgerton’s renewal seems to be a foregone conclusion after it became a runaway hit at the end of last year.

Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix.

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