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Julie Andrews has been entertaining audiences for over half a century, with iconic roles in beloved movies such as The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. She had a career renaissance with movies such as The Princess Diaries, and now, she’s set for her latest role that’s sure to be a hit.

Shonda Rhimes poses for cameras at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Shonda Rhimes at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Shonda Rhimes is back with a very different show

Superstar showrunner Shonda Rhimes’ latest series Bridgerton premieres on Netflix on Christmas Day, and represents a big change for the Grey’s Anatomy producer. In 2017, Rhimes inked an exclusive multi-year deal with the streaming giant to produce several new shows.

Rhimes hasn’t looked back, as she explained to The Hollywood Reporter in an October 2020 cover story. “I felt like I was dying,” she said of working in network television. “Like I’d been pushing the same ball up the same hill in the exact same way for a really long time.”

Bridgerton is Rhimes’ first series to be released under her Netflix deal, and it differs from any project she’s ever done before. The show takes viewers into high society life in early 19th century England and follows the stories of one family. It isn’t Rhimes’ first period drama, however: she produced the short-lived Romeo & Juliet spinoff Still Star-Crossed in 2017.

Actress Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews | Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis via Getty Images

Julie Andrews is the narrator of ‘Bridgerton’

Bridgerton has a large cast starring British actors such as Phoebe Dynevor, Jonathan Bailey, and Lorraine Ashbourne. For Andrews, Bridgerton marks the singer’s first entrance into Shondaland.

Despite having a pivotal role in the story, Andrews doesn’t actually appear in the show at all. She plays Lady Whistledown, the show’s Gossip Girl-esque narrator who enjoys watching the events of the Bridgertons’ lives unfold.

In an interview with Parade, Andrews described the show as “scandalous and romantic, quick-witted, with lots and lots of friendships, families finding their way and mothers protecting their daughters — you can imagine all the intrigue.”

“It’s glamour, [and] how do the other half live?” she continued. “I think it’s all part of the stories that we loved from childhood, really.”

Julie Andrews speaks to media at a press conference ahead of her national tour of "An Evening with Julie Andrews" on May 16, 2013.
Julie Andrews | Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Julie Andrews didn’t mince words about her ‘Bridgerton’ character

Andrews called her character Lady Whistledown “a mysterious and rather sharp-tongued gossip writer of the day.” She referenced her character’s very first line, which is “Something like, ‘Of all b*tches, human or otherwise, there’s none worse than the gossip columnist.'”

She went on to describe Lady Whistledown as “a tartar, and a bit of a naughty woman.” And while she doesn’t appear onscreen at any point, Lady Whistledown is central to the drama. She has the tea on everyone in the show, and as such, moves the story along herself.

“I occasionally guide it, twist it, point it in some direction or another,” Andrews said of her character’s role in the story. “I can make or break anybody, it seems, if I wish.”