Bridgerton writer says writing steamy sex scenes was ‘one of the most awkward moments of my career’


One of the lead writers of Netflix‘s upcoming season of Bridgerton has called working on the sex scenes for the show ‘one of the most awkward moments of my career’.

The Regency romp, which is based on a series of books of the same name by Julia Quinn, follows one of the eight Bridgerton children each series, with season three heading to screens next year.

Jess Brownell, a writer-producer on the period drama who will serve as showrunner on both series three and four, spoke to the Sunday Times about writing some of the show’s steamy scenes, describing the process as being ‘awkward’ and admitting she didn’t want to show her boss the ‘detailed’ drafts. 

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Bridgerton left fans red-faced and captivated by its opening season raunchiness - and, according to a new interview in The Sunday Times, its writers were also blushing behind the scenes, it seems. (Pictured Sienna (Sabrina Bartlett) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) in season one)

Bridgerton left fans red-faced and captivated by its opening season raunchiness – and, according to a new interview in The Sunday Times, its writers were also blushing behind the scenes, it seems. (Pictured Sienna (Sabrina Bartlett) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) in season one)

Jess Brownell (pictured), a writer-producer on Bridgerton, who will serve as showrunner on seasons three and four, revealed that at first, writing the show's famous sex scenes was 'awkward'

Series one of Bridgerton became a fan favourite thanks to its raunchy scenes between Daphne Bridgerton ( Phoebe Dynevor ) and Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page)

Jess Brownell (pictured), a writer-producer on Bridgerton, who will serve as showrunner on seasons three and four, revealed that at first, writing the show’s famous sex scenes was ‘awkward’

Season one  featured the rip-your-clothes-off attraction between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), who sent fans into a frenzy simply by licking a spoon in a seductive manner. 

Meanwhile season two showcased the relationship between Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), which starts off prickly, but becomes flirtatious, leading to some serious sexual tension.  

She said: ‘[It was] one of the most awkward moments of my career … I was having fun but then I remembered my boss would read them … he had asked for them to be detailed.’

While the first series was famous for its overtly sexual sequences – including one scene which showed the Duke of Hastings seductively licking a spoon, spawning thousands of giphys – the second took a slower burn approach.

Speaking about why the second season took a different direction, Shonda Rhimes, head of production company Shondaland, which produced Bridgerton (as well as other hits including Grey’s Anatomy and Inventing Anna) said ‘every character’s romantic life is different’.

Shona, who has been described as a ‘super producer’ thanks to her impressive slate of productions, added: ‘It would be weird if everybody had the same kind of sex life…What is great about season two is it is about longing.’ 

While some fans felt that losing the steamier scenes made the second instalment less fun, many said they were delighted by the love story between Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma, praising the chemistry between the two actors. 

On top of the slow burn, sexually-charged tense scenes, the newest season of the show still featured some racy segments, including one in which a naked Anthony is seen covering his modesty in his bedroom. 

Although the second season has fewer openly saucy scenes, fans were still delighted with some steamy scenes, including this one where Anthony falls into water as the result of some flirtatious behaviour

Although the second season has fewer openly saucy scenes, fans were still delighted with some steamy scenes, including this one where Anthony falls into water as the result of some flirtatious behaviour

Numerous fans praised the steamy 'slow burn' sexual tension featured in the storyline of series 2 (pictured L-R: Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton)

Numerous fans praised the steamy ‘slow burn’ sexual tension featured in the storyline of series 2 (pictured L-R: Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton)

Taking to social media to praise the programme after its release earlier this year, one fan wrote: ‘Yes Bridgerton Season 2 is less steamy but IT WORKS. I can’t even explain how electric the tension is. Slow burn for the win every time.’ 

Another added: ‘Sex isn’t always gratuitous, and can be integral to the story/character development. Bridgerton stems from romance novels so the steamy scenes are not a surprise. S1 took that approach while S2 will be more about slow burn, the longing a la Jane Austen.’ 

And viewers have more to look forward to, with season three currently in production. While there is no official release date available yet, previous seasons have taken around a year from filming to release, which could put the Bridgerton season three release date in Summer 2023.

The third season will focus on another of the Bridgerton siblings – Colin – but will break tradition and skip the third Julia Quinn novel and jump to the fourth, Romancing Mister Bridgerton.  

New face: Daniel Francis (pictured in May 2018), who has previously starred in Stay Close, will be joining the cast as Marcus Anderson

'Wealth and a noble title': Meanwhile, The Crown's Sam Phillips (pictured in April 2015) will play Lord Debling, described as a genial lord with 'unusual interests'

New faces: It has also been revealed that new cast members Daniel Francis (left) and Sam Phillips (right) will be joining the romantic series

Cast: And James Phoon (pictured) - who has appeared in Wreck - is set to star as Harry Dankworth in the third series

Cast: And James Phoon (pictured) – who has appeared in Wreck – is set to star as Harry Dankworth in the third series

It has been confirmed that three new cast members will be joining the romantic series. Daniel Francis, who has previously starred in Stay Close, will be joining the cast as Marcus Anderson, ‘a charismatic presence who lights up any room he enters, attracting the notice of certain matriarchs in the ton — and the ire of others’.

Meanwhile, The Crown’s Sam Phillips will play Lord Debling, described as a genial lord with ‘unusual interests’.

A description of his character adds: ‘But with wealth and a noble title to back up his eccentricities, he’ll have no shortage of interest from young ladies this season.’

And James Phoon – who has appeared in Wreck – is set to star as Harry Dankworth in the third series.  

Jess Brownell confirmed in an interview with Variety that season three is skipping ahead to book four and focusing on Colin and Penelope’s love story.

Moving on: The much-awaited third series of Bridgerton will see Penelope Featherington (Nicole Coughlan) abandon her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton)

Moving on: The much-awaited third series of Bridgerton will see Penelope Featherington (Nicole Coughlan) abandon her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton)

A potential romance has been teased between the pair throughout the last two seasons, as wallflower Penelope pined for Colin from the side of the ballroom while he took centre stage.

However their storyline ended in an awkward position at the end of the last series, after Penelope overheard Colin mocking the idea of marrying her to his friends.

Penelope, who also holds a secret identity as Lady Whistledown, instead decides that it is time for her to find a husband who will ‘provide her with enough independence to continue her double life, far away from her mother and sisters’. 

According to a Netflix synopsis: ‘But lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly.   

‘Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger. But he’s disheartened to realize that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder. 

Romance: However things soon get complicated as Colin's lessons start working 'a little too well' and he must decide whether his feelings for Penelope are just friendly or not

Romance: However things soon get complicated as Colin’s lessons start working ‘a little too well’ and he must decide whether his feelings for Penelope are just friendly or not

‘Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season.’

However things soon get complicated as Colin’s lessons start working ‘a little too well’ and he must decide whether his feelings for Penelope are just friendly or not.   

Brownell explained: ‘I really feel like it’s Colin and Penelope’s time. Because we’ve been watching both of these actors on our screens since Season 1, we’ve already invested in them a little bit. We know who they are as people.

‘Instead of treading water on that dynamic, we wanted to push it into their season. It really felt like the perfect moment to tee it up.’

She added: ‘I think Shonda Rhimes has said publicly before that she wants to have eight seasons. We hope to get to tell every sibling’s love story and they will always be in each season.’   

 



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