I happily confess to enjoying the audacity of Bridgerton currently raging on Netflix but it is one location above all in this salacious period raunch that sends me spinning back to the 80s and Brideshead Revisited.
I think it was the Brideshead theme music that hooked me, long before I even noticed or ultimately fell in love with Sebastian and Charles’ “halcyon” Oxford days and then that first trip to Brideshead, the Flyte residence.
There followed a whole Evelyn Waugh period, back from the book to the ITV series on and off for so many years. This is why Castle Howard in Yorkshire has always been associated for me not with rucking in the park but with Catholicism, Charles’ love for Sebastian (and Julia) or Sebastian’s impossibly unavoidable and tragic destiny.
To understand all is to forgive all
And so indeed, Bridgerton is to be thanked for hurling me back 40 years and bringing Castle Howard to life in high definition and of course forgiven for any excesses or clever games with our poor history of diversity – so starkly brought to life in 2020 by the slavery statues in places I know well such as Bristol.
Bridgerton will I’m sure knock out season after season but I will still return to Waugh, to Brideshead and to Castle Howard to be reminded of the past because “These memories, which are my life–for we possess nothing certainly except the past–were always with me.”