Bridgerton has become the most successful show in the history of Netflix after the period drama was watched by a record-breaking 82 million households in its first 28 days of release.

The show, which is adapted from Julia Quinn's novels and set in the highly competitive world of the debutante season in regency England, has hit number one on the Netflix charts in 83 countries, including the US, UK, Brazil, France, India and South Africa.

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The huge success of the show, which features Derry Girls' actor Nicola Coughlan among its cast, has also propelled Quinn’s books into The New York Times bestseller lists for the first time - 18 years after they were first published.

Speaking about the show's popularity, Jinny Howe, VP of Original Series at Netflix, said: "During my Netflix interviews I remember being asked, `If you could make any show, what kind would it be and why?’

"I dared say the truth - that in a pop culture world dominated by sci-fi and fantasy, I’ve always loved beautiful, lush romances. Being direct paid off though, little did I imagine that the first project I would help bring to life at Netflix would be Bridgerton."

Howe added that she had learned several things about modern audiences from working on the show, which is produced by Shonda Rhimes, Chris Van Dusen, and Betsy Beers.

"All kinds of audiences love romance," she said. "Romance books have always sold incredibly well. But these stories have rarely made it onto the screen.

"Daphne and Simon's `will they/won't they’ love affair, combined with the opulent costumes and settings, created a world into which members of all backgrounds and ages could escape. Bridgerton has shown that romance can be smart, dynamic, bold and yes - universally appealing."

She also said that it pays to take creative risks, saying that Bridgerton, like The Queen's Gambit, defies tradition.

"Period dramas are not limited in scope or audience," Howe said. "The show is a fictional portrayal of London in 1813 that lifts the facade of Regency life. Chris Van Dusen and Shondaland’s Regency reimagined isn't meant to be history.

"It’s designed to be more lavish, sexier and funnier than the standard period drama - and that’s what so surprised and delighted our members."

Netflix has announced that Bridgerton will return for a second season, with production set to begin in the Spring.