Bridget Jones turned 25 years old since her first appearance on the newspaper The Independent, precisely on 28 February 1995. By that time, the journalist Helen Fielding was invited to create a newspaper weekly column for The Independent on Sunday, about urban life in London designed to appeal to young professional women. Fielding accepted the challenge and Bridget Jones was born. 

Helen Fielding’s comic creation was an instant cultural phenomenon and led to the publication of the first novel, Bridget Jones’s Diary, in 1996. The book ( and later on the film) follows the adventures of Bridget Jones, a 32-year-old single woman in London, very unlucky in love, who works at a publishing company and tries to grow professionally. She has some bad habits—smoking and drinking—but she annually writes her New Year’s resolutions in her diary, determined to stop smoking, drink no more than 14 alcohol units a week, eats more healthy food and tries her best to lose weight.

In 1999, Helen Fielding released the sequel novel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Both novels were adapted for film in 2001 and 2004, starring Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones, and Hugh Grant and Colin Firth as the men in her life: Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy, respectively. In the two novels and two screen adaptations, Bridget flirts with her boss, Daniel Cleaver, a handsome and charming man with a notorious fame of womaniser. A successful barrister and a childhood acquaintance, son of her parents’ friends. Mark finds Bridget foolish and vulgar and Bridget thinks Mark is arrogant and rude, and is disgusted by his novelty Christmas jumper. Mark Darcy keeps popping into Bridget’s life, sometimes being extremely awkward. After Bridget and Mark find a sort of happiness together, she gains some self-confidence and dramatically cuts down on her alcohol and cigarette consumption. However, Bridget’s obsession with self-help-books plus several misunderstandings cannot keep the couple together forever.

Who remembers the classic scene that Bridget drinks, smokes and while listening to ‘All by my self’ depressed? It’s fantastic! 

Helen Fielding released the third novel in 2013 called Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, which is set 14 years after the events of the second novel. In 2016, the novel Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries was released and the film adaptation as well (a quite different, but also somewhat similar to the book). The novel tells about Bridget finds herself unexpectedly pregnant without being certain who the father is.

Over the years, Bridget first movie have been hailed as a cult film, as well as part of the English pop culture with Bridget Jones being cited as a British culture icon. The character has an impact on women’s contemporary lives over the past 25 years, and how Bridget’s story reflects changing attitudes to women – and the way their stories are told.

Coming up

Now, 25 years later, BBC Two will celebrate Bridget Jones’s birthday and the legacy of Helen Fielding’s characters on the TV documentary ‘Being Bridget’ which will feature interviews with Helen Fielding and her friends who inspired the original characters along with rarely seen archive, and celebrity fans playing tribute.

Being Bridget will be broadcast as part of BBC Two‘s Christmas schedule.

See more of BBC’s Christmas comedy highlights 2020.

Check out the trailers of Bridget Jones movies’:

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