I meet Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page just as they are wrapping their Vogue photoshoot in Regent’s Park. The young actors – laid-back, charming and both with a deliciously dry sense of humour – are the stars of Netflix’s bid for costume drama supremacy this Christmas, Bridgerton, a Regency romp that seeks to redefine the genre itself.
Accordingly, today’s surroundings, seemingly frozen in time since the early 19th century, have inspired wistful melancholy in the pair. “There were a few tears,” Page tells me with a grin, when I ask about their day spent wandering the manicured lawns and historic terraces of north London. He nods coyly at his co-star, who shakes her head in exasperation. “It was the wind in my eye,” she laughs, but admits there’s been something moving about seeing one another again after a whirlwind 2020.
Created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes (the prolific showrunner of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal), the eight-part series takes its cue from American author Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels, a collection of frothy romances first published 20 years ago, which have since sold seven million copies (despite the occasional critical drubbing). Rhimes remembers “looking down my nose at them”, but after picking one up as a beach read, she soon devoured Quinn’s entire back catalogue.