The true story that inspired Netflix's hilarious new series, The Duchess.

Katherine Ryan's debut TV show The Duchess just dropped on Netflix.

The London-based Canadian comedian - who created, wrote and stars in the series - plays a single mother in her mid-30s living in London, navigating life, love and whether to have a second child.

Her character finds herself contemplating who to have a child with: 

  • Her nemesis ex-boyfriend Shep, who's not only a washed-up boy band star but also the father to her daughter
  • Her long-term dentist boyfriend Evan 
  • Or, a sperm donor

Oh, and her character's name is Katherine Ryan.

Watch the trailer for Netflix's The Duchess here. Post continues below.

Video via Netflix

The 37-year-old comedian and actress has noted that the six-part series has aspects of truth to it - including the fact the lead has the exact name as her own. 

"Her name is Katherine Ryan out of pure laziness because I always meant to change her name and then I just thought, 'Oh well,'" Ryan told Digital Spy.

Like her on-screen character, Ryan has a cynical sense of humour and love for over-the-top fashion (as spotted in the pilot when she wears a jumper with "World's Smallest Pussy" emblazoned across it). She also has a tween daughter Violet, who she has an extremely close relationship with much like her on-screen daughter, Olive.


"I do think that the show is an insight into me as a person and a performer because the central relationship in my life is the relationship with my daughter," Ryan told Refinery 29. "I have never prioritised men. Historically, I keep them at arm’s length." 


However, there is still plenty of fiction woven in.

"In my real life though, I’ve not been pregnant by a boy band star and I don’t shout at the mums at the school gate, so there are differences," she told Radio Times.

"I think TV’s Katherine Ryan is a lot more disruptive and provocative and she has no filter and she’s way more of a narcissist. I think it’s fun to be a villain so I wanted to write a bad person who’s a good mum, but in real life I’m a bad person and a bad mum."

The Duchess. Image: Netflix.


Comedian Katherine Ryan gained worldwide attention back in 2017 when Netflix released her first stand-up special Katherine Ryan: In Trouble. It was followed by a second special in 2019, Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room.

Both of them delved into similar themes that are explored in the sitcom.

"I think that the themes that I'm passionate about in my stand-up are the themes that you see in The Duchess: flipping gender stereotypes… you know, I wrote Evan [Katherine's boyfriend] to be a rom-com woman, like: 'Oh! Please marry me!'" she told Digital Spy.

"Because I just see too many women doing that, and I don't see any men doing that. And there are men who will tolerate emotional abuse and just want to get married." 

Although Ryan doesn't match her on-screen character to a tee, she wants us to think she does.

"It’s better for me if everyone thinks I’m Katherine from The Duchess. I mean, she’s so much cooler than I am," she said.

You can watch The Duchess now on Netflix.

Feature image: Netflix.