Watching Bridgerton season two, I unashamedly got completely swept up in the huffiness and puffiness of the will-they-won’t-they between the viscount and his fiancé’s sister. The heaving chests, the heated arguments, the stolen glances across the ballroom…I had to dab my brow with a cold flannel!

At exactly the same moment as I watched the viscount deliver the iconic, enchanting line of the series: “You are the bane of my existence, and the object of all my desires”, I received a DM containing the least romantic two-word sentence of all time, “You up?...” with an emoji that…well, I won’t go into detail.  What a crash back to reality that was.

“Why couldn’t I be dating in 1803?” I whined to my mum.

“If you were dating in 1803, you wouldn’t be going after viscounts,” she laughed. “It’s 2022 and look how things have gone for Meghan Markle. Bridgerton is cute, but neither you nor I would have been in a palace in 1803!”

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Of course, she’s right. Bridgerton’s portrayal of a brown woman in the nineteenth century being courted as a future viscountess is wholly inaccurate. It would even be unbelievable if it were set today.

The inaccuracy has not escaped criticism – there are those who feel the series inappropriately overlooks Britain’s colonial past. It shows Indian women living in English stately homes revelling in the height of aristocratic luxury and a Black queen as the figurehead of this insufferable high society, with absolutely no mention of the tyranny committed by Britain in basically any country where people of colour lived.

Not to mention that for well over a century and a half after 1803, Bridgerton’s beloved Mayfair would have in fact had sign after sign that read “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs” in several windows.

The show’s portrayal of people of colour and their status in society – or rather, the status they were allowed – is completely historically false. But who is watching Bridgerton thinking it’s a documentary?

Whilst it may give viewers a false impression of how people of colour were treated historically, I dare say the show does more good than harm in terms of representation. Seeing people of colour cast in roles other than the slave, the maid or the criminal is painfully overdue.

As a person of colour, the repeated degradation of seeing people who look like you only being typecast as stereotypes has become so tiresome, that watching a depiction of people of colour where they are treated as desirable, and frankly just equal, feels like a treat.

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For productions such as Bridgerton to actively engage in colourblind casting, takes a strong stand against Hollywood norms.

In the film Hitch, the role of lead actress was originally given to Cameron Diaz, however it was later given to Eva Mendes instead because it was more apparently more palatable for a Black man to seek a Latina love interest on screen rather than a white one. The thought of showing a white woman fall in love with a Black man was still too taboo to be shown in cinemas.

We’re no better here in the UK – how many Black women, especially dark-skinned Black women are given leading roles? Even the BBC, in its leftie liberal splendour, falls short when it come to casting dark-skinned Black women.

Lest we forget the catastrophe that was BBC Sounds choosing Cheryl Cole to host an RnB podcast. A white woman criminally charged for assaulting a Black woman, was chosen to host a podcast about music of Black origin, over any Black British RnB artist. It is beyond belief.

It's because of shortcomings like these that colourblind casting is a necessity. I truly believe that as a society we’ll develop so far that we won’t even have to use terms such as ‘colourblind’ in these contexts, because portraying characters of colour in non-stereotypical roles will have become normal. But we’re not there yet.

As a seven year old, I auditioned for the stage production of Sound Of Music. Being a brown child with a storm of black curly hair, I obviously wasn’t cast as a Von Trapp child fleeing the Nazis in Austria. As I left the audition, deflated and too young to understand why I had not been chosen despite my belting out of Do Re Mi and my faultless step ball changes, one of the auditioners asked me if I’d considered trying for The Lion King. As a brown child, I had more chance of playing a lion or zebra on stage, than an actual brown child.

In the nineteen years since, Bridgerton is now seen as revolutionary for its colourblind casting. The progress is frustratingly slow, but it is progress none the less.

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