By Jacob Paul
A critically-acclaimed actress and director is starring in this Christmas’s biggest streaming costume drama hit.
Brixton resident Adjoa Andoh, 57, plays Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, the Netlifx period drama set in Regency London.
Adjoa, who plays the dowager duchess who runs a town’s social hierarchy, has already appeared in Invictus, Doctor Who and Coronation Street, and co-directed and starred in the UK’s first all-woman-of-colour Shakespeare production, Richard ll, at The Globe
Adjoa said: “She’s a great character, she’s a widow and she’s got no children, lots of status and lots of money, so for the period she’s about as powerful as you could get.
“We’ve all got amazing costumes and a brilliant design team. It looks like the regency period on acid. Everything about it, from the casting to the storyline to the look of it is of the period, and then hyped up.”
Bridgerton is produced by Shona Rhimes, executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal.
Adjoa said: “Anybody who works in this business has got to admire marvel Shonda Rhimes, she produces such great shows.
“It’s a real honour to be part of that stable and for me as black actor to work for a company created by this amazing black woman, it’s extra good.
“There’s a broad range of casting going on. I think it’s important to put the history back into history. It’s set during the time of George III and Queen Charlotte – and Queen Charlotte for a start was mixed race.
“In England in that period there would have been all sorts of nations and all sorts of demographics. There have been people of all different nations here since Roman times.
“When I was growing up in the Cotswolds in the 60s and 70s, in the next village over to me the fish and chip shop and takeaway were owned by a Chinese family and you never see stuff with Chinese people set in the Cotswolds.
“For me it’s not just about race, it’s about everything. Put women back into history, put gay people back into history, put people of different physical abilities back into history.
“We’ve all got different things to contribute, and if we don’t tell the real story we don’t give people the space to think that they can do those things, too. Telling stories has been so important to people’s well-being. Art is the way for us to not go mad.”
Adjoa has been in Brixton since she arrived in London for an acting gig in 1984.
She said: “I wanted to get to Brixton as fast as I could because I wanted to be around black people. I moved into a squat and Lambeth council provided funding to build and be an architect. It was a really exciting time.
“I feel so sorry for kids now because the first London that I encountered has kind of been brought up. It’s really hard for my kids’ generation to be able to move in, but I love Brixton. Actors always had gigs in there and it’s got a real theatrical history.
“It’s becoming a lot more exclusive to live here and to use all the beautiful things about Brixton.
“I love going to Brockwell Park, Loughborough Park and if there was no Brixton Wholefoods I don’t know what I’d do – it’s the best shop in London.”
Adjoa is has also been a reader of the Church of England at Herne Hill Parish for the past 11 years.
She said: “It’s a real privilege, I love it and it makes you feel part of the community. This year the Church has been really important for the lots of people.”
Pictured top: Adjoa Andoh, centre
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