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‘Bridgerton’ actor Nicola Coughlan didn’t know Penelope’s secret until she got the role




Bridgerton Season 1 may focus on the romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Reg Jean Page) but Nicola Coughlan steals scenes as Penelope Featherington. Following the success of the Netflix originals since airing began on December 25, 2020, the cast confessed that she didn’t know Penelopes’ secret when she auditioned for the TV show.

Nicola Coughlan attends a 'Derry Girls' photocall during the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival
Nicola Coughlan attends a Derry Girls photocall during the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival | Jeff Spicer / Getty Images

[Bridgerton Season 1 spoilers ahead]

Who is Penelope Featherington?

Penelope is the best friend of Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie), the younger sister of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor). Finding a husband isn’t the only thing on Penelopes’ mind.

She wants a family but she also wants a career. Penelopes is a complicated character who has endearing moments and frustrating moments.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington and Harriet Cains as Phillipa Featherington in 'Bridgerton'
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington and Harriet Cains as Phillipa Featherington in Bridgerton | LIAM DANIEL / NETFLIX 2020

Play Penelope on Bridgerton Coughlins isn’t just a TV role. She plays Clare Devlin on Derry Girls. Seasons 1 and 2 air on Netflix.

RELATED: Bridgerton Star Nicola Coughlan Says Simon Needs Therapy

Nicola Coughlan uncovered Penelopes’ secret on a fan forum

Bridgerton fans learned a major secret about Penelope in the season finale. Voiced by Julie Andrews for much of the first season, the identity of Lady Whistledowns has remained a mystery. It was until the eighth episode of the show where her identity became clear. Penelope was behind Lady Whistledown and her gossip-filled brochures.

According to Coughlan, she had no idea who Lady Whistledown was when she auditioned for the role of Penelope. The actor said Variety in December 2020, she had not read Julia Quinns Bridgerton novels, on which the series is based, before its audition. Therefore, she did not know the secret of Penelopes.

When I went for the first audition, I only had a few days to prepare; I didn’t have time to read the books or do anything like that, ”she says. “I was just like, ‘I’ll try and if I get a second call I’m going to read everything.’ But that didn’t happen, I just got the job.

RELATED: Bridgerton Creator Knew Netflix Series Was Going To Be Really Special When Filming Major Daphne And Simon Moment

It was only later, thanks to the fans, that she discovered Penelope and Lady Whistledown.

It was on a forum that I realized she was Lady Whistledown, Coughlan said of her character. She continued, saying she couldn’t believe it.

When I saw it I thought, “No, no, no, no, that can’t be right.” I kept rereading it, because it didn’t make sense: [Im] to receive this amazing role on a Shondaland Netflix show, and it’s that role, she said before adding, it’s pretty mind-blowing.

What’s next for Bridgerton?

The future of the series is uncertain. At the time of publication, neither Netflix nor Rhimes production company Shondaland have confirmed Bridgerton Season 2.

However, it is highly likely that there will be more episodes. Bridgerton is already one of the most streamed programs on Netflix. Additionally, the first eight episodes of the series follow Quinns’ debut novel in his eight-book series. So, there is a lot more story to tell.

Watch Bridgerton Season 1 on Netflix.

RELATED: Julia Quinn Never Expected Bridgerton To Be A Word For Adapting Words From Her Books: I Didn’t Want It

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