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Netflix boss reveals Bridgerton's diverse cast was found using an 'inclusion lens' 


Netflix’s vice-president of inclusion strategy has said Bridgerton’s racially diverse cast was the result of an ‘inclusion lens’ being applied to casting decisions. 

Verna Myers said the company supported diverse lead producers and showrunners for the series as well as its executive producer Shonda Rhymes.

Bridgerton is a romantic drama set in Regency London which re-imagines the period as one where black and white people were equal.   

Strategy: Netflix's vice-president of inclusion strategy has said Bridgerton's racially diverse cast was the result of an 'inclusion lens' being applied to casting decisions (Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page pictured)

Strategy: Netflix’s vice-president of inclusion strategy has said Bridgerton’s racially diverse cast was the result of an ‘inclusion lens’ being applied to casting decisions (Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page pictured)

Ms Myers told The Guardian: ‘We’ve got to get folks in front of the camera and behind the camera. When that happens you’re going to get something you’ve never seen before. Bridgerton is something we have never seen before.’

‘We help out all of our creative folks in content and marketing with what we call an inclusion lens, when they’re casting and when they’re green lighting: see who’s there, see who isn’t.’

Ms Myers said the historical lack of black employees in the technology and entertainment industries is down to industry trends and said Netflix has put special emphasis on recruiting black employees.

She explained: ‘We had a special person to think about recruitment, specifically for underrepresented groups, and we started with people of colour, and we really emphasised black.’

Story: Bridgerton is a romantic drama set in Regency London which re-imagines the period as one where black and white people were equal (Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury)

Story: Bridgerton is a romantic drama set in Regency London which re-imagines the period as one where black and white people were equal (Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury)

The VP added that she did not think the problem was specific to Netflix and was instead a ‘function of the industry’.

Ms Myers said companies should back up talk of diversity with action such as Netflix’s new £350,000 investment scheme to help develop black creative talent. 

Speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement, Ms Myers said she believes it has opened peoples eyes to a ‘social hierarchy’ that exists in the world. 

Diversity: Verna Myers (pictured) said the company supported diverse lead producers and showrunners for the series as well as its executive producer Shonda Rhymes

Diversity: Verna Myers (pictured) said the company supported diverse lead producers and showrunners for the series as well as its executive producer Shonda Rhymes

Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan recently had some harsh sentiments for those who have criticised the show for its diverse casting.

In a string of tweets, the actress, 33, touted the success of the racy period drama as proof of audiences’ fervent acceptance of the show and its cast.

‘You know the way some people were like “Diversity in period drama doesn’t work…”‘ Nicola tweeted.

’63 million households thought it did tho so,’ she continued, adding a skull emoji.

Speaking out: Bridgerton¿s Nicola Coughlan (pictured, right) recently had some harsh sentiments for those who have criticised the show for its diverse casting

Speaking out: Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan (pictured, right) recently had some harsh sentiments for those who have criticised the show for its diverse casting 

She wrote on Twitter: 'Remember people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB cos it was so diverse? You can¿t downvote us being Netflix['s] fifth biggest original release ever'

She wrote on Twitter: ‘Remember people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB cos it was so diverse? You can’t downvote us being Netflix[‘s] fifth biggest original release ever’

Minutes later, the Galway, Ireland-born thesp added, ‘Remember people were trying to downvote the show on IMDB cos it was so diverse?

‘You can’t downvote us being Netflix[‘s] fifth biggest original release ever.

It comes after Bridgerton was officially been renewed by Netflix for series 2 after weeks of speculation.

The second season will focus on Anthony Bridgerton’s (Jonathan Bailey) quest to find a wife after his turbulent love life was played out in the first series. 

The series follows the self-titled family and how their lives are turned upside-down by the revelations of the illusive and anonymous Lady Thistledown in London.   

Success: It comes after Bridgerton was officially renewed for series 2 after weeks of speculation (show lead Phoebe Dynevor in programme still)

Success: It comes after Bridgerton was officially renewed for series 2 after weeks of speculation (show lead Phoebe Dynevor in programme still)

Netflix confirmed the news in a tongue-in-cheek statement penned as mysterious show lead Lady Whistledown. 

They also shared the news on Twitter and YouTube with a montage of best clips from series one.

The statement read: ‘The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, and so it is my honour to impart to you: Bridgerton shall officially return for a second season. I do hope you have stored a bottle of ratafia for this most delightful occasion.

‘This author has been reliably informed that Lord Anthony Bridgerton intends to dominate the social season. I will have my pen to report on any and all of his romantic activities.

Quest for love: The second season will focus on Anthony Bridgerton's (Jonathan Bailey) quest to find a wife after his turbulent affair with opera singer Siena Rosso was played out in the first series (pictured in show still)

Quest for love: The second season will focus on Anthony Bridgerton’s (Jonathan Bailey) quest to find a wife after his turbulent affair with opera singer Siena Rosso was played out in the first series (pictured in show still) 

Hooray! Netflix confirmed the news in a tongue-in-cheek statement penned as mysterious show lead Lady Whistledown, they also shared the news on Twitter and YouTube (above)

Hooray! Netflix confirmed the news in a tongue-in-cheek statement penned as mysterious show lead Lady Whistledown, they also shared the news on Twitter and YouTube (above) 

‘However, gentle reader, before you set the comments section alight with requests for more sordid details, know that I am disinclined to report on the particulars at this time. Patience, after all, is a virtue. Yours Truly, Lady Whistledown.’  

It is believed that the second season will begin production in spring, Netflix have yet to confirm which characters will be officially returning for series 2 or further details. 

The first series had a strong focus on the love story of Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, played by Regé-Jean Page, and Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor. 

The two characters start out as friends as a ploy to fool London’s elite and Lady Thistledown herself.

Premise: Bridgerton follows the self-titled family and how their lives are turned upside-down by the revelations of the illusive and anonymous Lady Thistledown in London (show leads Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page in still) 

Yet after falling in love, Simon is forced to confront his inner demons after vowing to never marry or sire an heir to his dukedom out of spite to his late abusive father. 

The first series did briefly touch on other stories, which included Anthony’s own turbulent romance with his opera singer lover Siena Rosso, played by Sabrina Bartlett. It is unknown whether Anthony and Siena will reunite in series 2.      

Bridgerton debuted on Christmas Day and has remained in the top spot on Netflix’s most-watched list ever since, proving to be a mammoth success.  

The steamy period drama is set to rack up more than 63 million views by the end of January and has already earned the title of the fifth largest original series to launch on the streaming giant.  

Exciting: The first series briefly touched on Anthony's own turbulent romance with his opera singer lover Siena, it is unknown whether they will reunite in series 2 as he searches for a wife

Exciting: The first series briefly touched on Anthony’s own turbulent romance with his opera singer lover Siena, it is unknown whether they will reunite in series 2 as he searches for a wife

Bridgerton, which has earned a 90% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is Shonda Rhimes’ first scripted show for Netflix since she struck a $150 million deal with the streaming giant.   

It comes after Netflix teased ‘exciting news’ about the ‘immensely popular’ racy period drama earlier this week.  

Earlier this month, it was reported that Bridgerton could likely go from overnight sensation to an eight-season run, according to the creator of the Netflix hit.    

Chris Van Dusen, the showrunner, has teased that it could have a very long lifespan.

Speaking to Collider, he said: ‘This being a family of eight children and there being eight books, I would love to be able to focus and really tell stories and love stories for all the Bridgerton siblings. For each character, for sure. I would love that.’ 

He explained that season one was ‘primarily about Daphne and her love story with Simon’ but that there is much more to delve into. 

Not long! It is believed that the second season will begin production in spring, Netflix have yet to confirm which characters will be officially returning for series 2 or further details (Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie L-R in show still)

Not long! It is believed that the second season will begin production in spring, Netflix have yet to confirm which characters will be officially returning for series 2 or further details (Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie L-R in show still)  

The show is based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels – the second one called The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Book two follows Daphne Bridgerton’s elder brother Anthony, who is on the hunt for a wife.

As well as this, the story of Daphne and Simon Basset’s marriage would continue, as well as the developments of Lady Portia Featherington following her husband’s death. The mystery of Lady Whistledown’s identity also continues.

Top spot! Bridgerton debuted on Christmas Day and has remained in the top spot on Netflix's most-watched list ever since, proving to be a mammoth success (Golda Rosheuvel pictured)

Top spot! Bridgerton debuted on Christmas Day and has remained in the top spot on Netflix’s most-watched list ever since, proving to be a mammoth success (Golda Rosheuvel pictured)  

Julia Quinn refers to her sequel books as ‘second epilogues’. 

They are The Duke And I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From A Gentleman, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, To Sir Phillip, With Love, When He Was Wicked, It’s In His Kiss, and On The Way To The Wedding.

There were also a further two books focused around the writings of Lady Whistledown from the Bridgerton series, released in 2003 and 2004. 

Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix now.  

Wowsers: The steamy period drama is set to rack up more than 63 million views by the end of January and has already earned the title of the fifth largest original series to launch on the streaming giant

Wowsers: The steamy period drama is set to rack up more than 63 million views by the end of January and has already earned the title of the fifth largest original series to launch on the streaming giant 

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