Scandals and spin-offs: The Bridgerton cast chat season three

Scandals and spin-offs: The Bridgerton cast chat season three
  • PublishedMay 13, 2024

Nicola Coughlan says the “physicality” between her and Luke Newton had to change in season three of Bridgerton as her character Penelope Fetherington becomes more comfortable in her own body.

Dearest gentle reader, it has been a while since our last visit to the ton and this time around, our wallflower Penelope Fetherington is about to bloom.

Played by Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan, the close friend of the Bridgerton family just so happens to be the anonymous writer of high society’s gossip column, Lady Whistledown.

Season three focuses on the love story between her and Colin Bridgerton, played by Luke Newton.

“I really do feel parallels between what our characters go through and how we felt as actors on the show,” says Newton about taking on the leading role with Coughlan by his side.

“Colin comes back and he’s got all this attention and as much as he’s still trying to navigate his way through the storyline with Penn… he doesn’t really understand why he’s getting all this attention and he’s trying to process that. And I guess that’s why it doesn’t really see what’s right in front of him immediately.”

He adds: “There’s definitely parallels that cross over into the real world, and I think as an actor, I find it really difficult not to let things sort of like seep into my own life as well.”

Coughlan agrees.She says: “You live in these characters for so long that it makes you think and it makes you examine everything. It’s funny because it’s a show that’s light and beautiful and fun and airy, but it was a profound experience. I was shocked by how much I felt going through it. It was amazing.”

Since the first images of season three were released, fans of the show have been deep-diving into the possible reasons behind the show’s aesthetic decisions on TikTok – namely about Penelope Fetherington’s hair, make-up and choice of wardrobe and what it means for her relationship with Colin Bridgerton.

“I wanted her physicality to feel distinctly different in each season,” says Coughlan.

“I needed her to start feeling comfortable in her skin because she has this aesthetic transformation initially when she changes her hair, changes her wardrobe, but you could see straight away she doesn’t inhabit it.”

She adds: “She’s completely uncomfortable because she’s not done any inner work so she’s still the same insecure young girl.”

The Irish actress says she has always seen her character as a “yo-yo”, someone who tries to break out of her shyness and speak up only to revert back instantly.

“As she grows and accepts her womanhood and her sexuality, she starts to feel different. And I needed her to feel more relaxed and also then the physicality between us [Newton] had to change as well when they become sort of intertwined.”

What is season three of Bridgerton about?

Bridgerton series three. Pic: Netflix
Image:Pic: Netflix

Season three follows on from the aftermath of the Fetherington Ball when Penelope overhears Colin say he would never court her.

She decides to forget about her crush on the Bridgerton bachelor and seek a husband who will allow her the freedom to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown.The cast also includes Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton and Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper.

Claudia Jessie, who plays Penelope’s former best friend Eloise Bridgerton, says working on the show has been a pleasure.

“You don’t come away from every single job as an actor being like, I’m 100% confident with everything about that job, that doesn’t always happen, but this one’s a pleasure. Because you do.”

She adds: “I guess if you could have got a child to draw a picture of what their ideal acting job would look like, it would probably look like this so, I feel very lucky.”

Potential future spin-offs

It has been over two years since season two first aired on Netflix, allowing some breathing room for the show’s first spin-off, Queen Charlotte.

The limited series looked at the young life of the ton’s royalty as she met her husband, King George III.

Bridgerton series three. Pic: Netflix
Image:Pic: Netflix

Looking ahead, Madsen, who plays Cressida Cowper, says she would love to see Portia Fetherington in a stand-alone show.

Newcomer Dodd says “Keeping Up With The Cowpers” would be a vibe.

Jessie says any potential spin-off involving her character Eloise would simply be “carnage”.


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