Bridgerton: Netflix teases period drama narrated by Julie Andrews
Bridgerton makes a dramatic debut on Christmas Day. The Regency romantic drama marks US super-producer Shonda Rhimes first foray onto the streaming network after creating hit shows like Gray’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder. Dame Julie’s instantly recognisable posh tones underpin the entire story as her manipulative aristocrat narrates the show and her character publishes scandalous anonymous social reports like an 18th Century Gossip Girl. But in real life, one of the greatest singers in recording history lost her voice in a tragic accident.
Dame Julie’s crystal clear voice made her a child star. She made her stage debut at age 12 at the London Hippodrome and then performed the following year on the Royal Variety Performance in front of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
Before Hollywood superstardom beckoned, she had made her name as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway, although the film role was given to Audrey Hepburn.
Revenge was sweet when Dame Julie took the big screen role of Mary Poppins the following year instead. She won the Golden Globe and Oscar, while Hepburn’s Eliza wasn’t even nominated.
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The Sound of music followed and the rest is history.
Dame Julie was established as a major movie star and singer with TV specials, tours and albums alongside her Hollywood career.
In 1995, Dame Julie returned to the stage for the first time in 35 years.
Another movie role, as the cross-dressing artist in Victor/Victoria, was revived for a gruelling world tour. After two years, the star’s voice had become hoarse and she was advised to have an operation for suspected nodules on the vocal chords.
Instead of correcting the hoarseness, the operation destroyed her singing voice completely.
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE INCREDIBLE MOMENT JULIE ANDREWS SANG AGAIN
Even more tragically, it turned out there were no nodules. Dame Julie later said her vocal problem had simply been a result of the strain of touring.
She explained it was: “a certain kind of muscular striation [that] happens on the vocal cords. I didn’t have cancer, I didn’t have nodules, I didn’t have anything.”
The result was devastating: “I went into a depression. It felt like I’d lost my identity. I would have been quite a sad lady (in my career) if I hadn’t had the voice to hold on to. The singing was the most important thing of all.”
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In 1997 the star filed a malpractice suit against the doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital who had operated on her throat and the case was settled out of court.
Since then, Dame Julie has had four further operations to try and reverse the damage but they only achieved limited success in correcting her speaking voice.
However, in 2000, she hosted a gala night called Broadway’s Leading Ladies: The Love Songs at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Watch what happened below. The singing starts at 10.45 but the rest is also a pure joy.
NEXT: JULIE ANDREWS ON STAGE IN MY FAR LADY IN 1956 FOLLOWED BY HER FIRST TIME SINGING LIVE AFTER LOSING HERE VOICE
It was bittersweet that one of musical theatre and the world’s greatest voices could not belt out a classic ballad with the rest of them.
But then Dame Julie brought everyone to their feet and many to tears with a beautiful surprise.
At the climax of the night, Michael Crawford performed I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face from My Fair Lady
Asked the classic question of where it rains, Andrews sang out: “On the plane, on the plane.” And where’s that soggy plain? “In Spain, in Spain.”
Two short lines, just ten words, but the audience went wild and Crawford was clearly battling his emotions along with everyone else.
Since then, Dame Julie has also sung briefly in the Princess Diaries movies, on numbers selected with a very limited range.
Fans can still enjoy her cut-glass vowels and distinctive throaty tones on Bridgerton, which is always something to celebrate, but she will never sing fully again.
BRIDGERTON IS AVAILABLE NOW ON NETFLIX
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