Bridgerton's Unrealistic Page-To-Screen Change That Actually Made The Story Better

Bridgerton's Unrealistic Page-To-Screen Change That Actually Made The Story Better
Image credit: Netflix

Sometimes you have to deviate from reality to make things more relatable.


  • Shondalanad's Bridgerton made many changes to the original material.
  • One of them often goes unnoticed by fans, though it fixes a disturbing trend in the books.
  • Even though it’s unrealistic, we can only hope that the show's creators will continue this tendency in the future.

It is no secret that Shondaland's Bridgerton is based on Julia Quinn's eponymous romantic series. But it's also not a secret that the Shonda Rhimes-led creative team tweaked the source material quite a bit.

While Quinn's books can be considered classic period romances that try to stay as close to their Regency setting as possible, the show is more inspired by real life than based on it.

Major Changes In Adaptation

Shondaland's Bridgerverse is a fantasy world where love has conquered racism. Characters wear garments and hairstyles not found in history books. They dance to instrumental covers of modern pop songs. They think and act like we do, often defying 19th-century morality.

All of this has helped make Bridgerton more aesthetically pleasing to the modern eye and ear, and more relatable on many levels. No doubt, without these changes, the show could be overlooked by the general public like many before it.

But these are not the only efforts the Shondaland creators have made to modernize Bridgerton. Few readers/viewers notice that the show has corrected one disturbing aspect of the original.

Disturbing Tendency

Almost all of Julia Quinn's novels have a recurring trend: a large age gap between spouses. Older husbands take younger wives. The Bridgerton sisters are expected to find husbands during their debut seasons, while their brothers seem to be in no hurry.

Naturally, this is due to the standards of the Regency era. In the early 18th century, women generally entered society at 18, and the majority were married by 21. Men, on the other hand, were expected to be educated and mature before settling down.

In the show, we also see this imbalance when Colin, who is older than Daphne, proposes to Marina in Season 1 and everyone says he is too young to get married. But when it comes to the main couples, the Shondaland writers decided to go the unrealistic but healthier route.

Character Age Changes

Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed that the ages of the title characters and their love interests were changed in the adaptation. This is how old the Bridgerton characters are at the beginning of the book series compared to the pilot of the show:

  • Daphne Bridgerton - 21 vs 19
  • Simon Basset - 29 vs 28
  • Anthony Bridgerton - 29 vs 28
  • Kate Sharma - 20 vs 25
  • Colin Bridgerton - 22 vs 20
  • Penelope Featherington - 17 vs 18
  • Benedict Bridgerton - 27 vs 26
  • Eloise Bridgerton - 17 vs 18

As you can see, the male characters have all been aged down and the female characters, with the exception of Daphne, have been aged up. Daphne's birth date was moved up to make the first season of the show her debut year, allowing her to be the Diamond and introduce us to on-screen high society through the eyes of a newcomer.

All of these alterations ensured that Daphne-Simon remained the only lead couple with a large age gap of nine years. Anthony and Kate are now only 3 years apart. Colin and Penelope are even closer than that and more believable as best friends.

Given this tendency, it is likely that future lead couples will also be age-adjusted. And even though it's a departure from real life, we can't help but welcome the change, can we?