Skip to main content

Doctor Who's Bridgerton episode was an accidental but perfectly loving advertisement for Netflix's period romance

Whovians might not have wanted to watch the hit Netflix show... until last week

Image credit: BBC/Disney+/Netflix (Edit: Popverse)

Popverse's top stories of the day

Think of it as the best advertisement that Netflix could never dream of. The timing of Doctor Who’s ‘Rogue’ — an episode that namedropped Bridgerton multiple times, and firmly established that it was a show not only loved by the Doctor and Ruby, but the alien Chulders, as well — less than a week before the period romance returned for the second half of its latest season was pure coincidence, but when it comes to promoting the show to a different audience, it turned out to be ideal.

It’s not entirely fair to say that Doctor Who and Bridgerton’s fanbases have no overlap — if nothing else, ‘Rogue’ demonstrated just how much DNA the two shows share; they’re both some of the most melodramatic and romantic shows on television today, in their own ways — but it’s also safe to say that there’s also a significant part of the fanbases for each show that wouldn’t have thought to check out the other, without this unofficial crossover.

The Bridgerton tribute was, if nothing else, entirely genuine on the part of the Who writers. “I think me and Briony [Redman, co-writer] were joking that we basically wrote a fanfic to this episode and we always thought they might tell us to take Bridgerton out, but it’s sustained and somehow has survived and it’s in there still,” co-writer Kate Herron told TV Insider about the episode.

Additionally, Showrunner Russell T. Davies said about the episode, “It’s got the romance, it’s got the costumes — we’ve literally got the costumes — we’ve got the locations. It properly is the Bridgerton episode, but with the one thing that Bridgerton is lacking, which is murderous aliens.” He added, jokingly, “Frankly, wouldn’t it be a better show if it had that? I think Shonda [Rhimes, Bridgerton executive producer] is probably listening. She’s probably about to do that.”

The affection for Bridgerton is clear from those comments (Davies’ “I think Shonda is probably listening”!) as much as from the episode itself, and as a result, the very concept of watching Bridgerton suddenly becomes a much more attractive one. After all, if these people like it, then surely it’s got to be worth at least checking out once, right…?

Again, the timing is a happy accident from both the BBC/Disney+ perspective and Netflix’s; who could have known ‘Rogue’ and Bridgerton, Season 3 part 2 would line up so well before now…? It did, however, create the perfect cross-promotional opportunity for the latter, and if Netflix and Shonda Rhimes want to play fair, we’re due at least a cameo from Ncuti Gatwa in the background of the show’s fourth season. Ideally with Jonathan Groff in tow.

Of course, I can only assume fan edits of that kind of thing already exist all over the internet. It’s what a Doctor Who episode celebrating fandom deserves, after all.

Doctor Who’s ‘Rogue’ is available to stream on Disney+ now. Bridgerton, Season 3 Part 2 debuts on Netflix June 13.

Whether its the bane of your existence or the object of all your desires (or both), Bridgerton is back. Read all our spoiler-y thoughts on Bridgerton season 3 here, and then delight at a guide to how to watch all of Bridgerton (and the spinoff), how to read the Bridgerton books (all 16 of them!), an our exclusive interview with the show's costume designer John Glaser, as well as some recommended reads for all Bridgerton fans.

Featured events