Wealth, lust, and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency-era England, seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.
02. Derry Girls
The personal exploits of a 16-year-old girl and her family and friends during the Troubles in the early 1990s.
03. Seize Them!
Dark age Queen Dagan is toppled by a revolution led by Humble Joan. The Queen becomes a fugitive in her own land, and must face hardship and danger as she embarks on a voyage to win back her throne.
Whistle Through the Shamrocks
Launched: January 22, 2021
Contact: via Twitter or Email
With concurrent roles on two hit Netflix series, Coughlan went straight from shooting the second season of Bridgerton to the third season of Derry Girls with barely a weekend in between. Starring in a 19th century romance and 1990s-set coming-of-age comedy is something she never thought she’d do, because of some puzzling feedback she got in drama school: “I was told, categorically, I would never do period drama,” Coughlan recalls. “They told me, ‘Your face is too modern.’ I have no idea to this day what that means.” The Galway-born actress has learned never to rule anything out, and when she’s not on set she’s working on a soon-to-be-released Apple podcast called Whistle Through the Shamrocks that started as “this really weird running joke about Irish plays” with co-writer Camilla Whitehill. The six-episode series features a host of talent including Coughlan’s Netflix co-stars Jamie Beamish and Louisa Harland, as well as Stephanie Beatriz and Jonathan Van Ness.
The person I am dying to work with … Judi Dench
My pandemic binge-watch was … Euphoria
I’d love to star in a remake of … “Not a remake of [Parks and Recreation], but Leslie Knope: The Early Years. I feel like I could play Leslie Knope in college.”
If I had to live in a world from a movie or TV show, I would choose … Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion
If a superhero franchise was based on my life, my superpower would be … “Probably Nap Girl. That’s just what I’m known as at work. If I have a spare 10 minutes, I’ll just fall asleep.”
The social cause I am passionate about is … “LGBTQ rights. I play a gay character in Derry Girls and I realized the responsibility of taking that on at a time when, in Northern Ireland, gay marriage still wasn’t legal.”
Fans are already waiting for Bridgerton’s much-anticipated second season (the show has already been renewed through four, thankfully) and star Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington, told Entertainment Tonight that viewers looking for the steam and sizzle of season 1 won’t be disappointed. As rumors coming from the set make headlines (will or won’t Regé-Jean Page make a cameo after his very dramatic departure?), Coughlan promises that the new season will be “spicy” and that fans can expect much, much more from Penelope.
“It’s got a whole lot spicier I will say,” Coughlan said of her character’s sophomore season arc. “You definitely see more sides to her. We find out at the end of season 1 [that she’s Lady Whistledown], that is there, but we don’t get to explore it. But the world cracks open. I feel like the Bridgerton world has grown and you’re going to see a lot more sides to her. She’s a sassy chick.”
Bridgerton is up for a slew of awards (12 total) at this weekend’s Emmy Awards, but unfortunately, Coughlan won’t be in attendance — the show is in production right now. The show has already won a trophy, however, and Coughlan was happy to celebrate the award for Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling.
“It was amazing! It was so exciting,” Coughlan said. “It’s the biggest awards in television so to be recognized by them is phenomenal. We were all super excited. We [are] in the middle of filming season 2 right now, so the new season 2 group chat was going off. It’s called ‘Bridger-2,’ which I picked that name and felt very proud. I felt like, ‘That’s so smart!'”
Coughlan knows that people can’t wait for more of Bridgerton and is happy to be a part of something that makes so many people happy. She went on to say that the whole cast is feeling great about how season 2 is coming along — and doesn’t feel that much pressure to live up to the source material, The Viscount Who Loved Me. Netflix’s show is based on Julia Quinn’s series and the second book focuses on Anthony.
“It’s such an exciting thing when you do a show that anyone watches and connects to. But the level at which people connected to Bridgerton and the scale is really mind-blowing. I think we really went in more relaxed, which I know maybe some people wouldn’t,” Coughlan said. “I think we felt so much love from the fans of the show and support. Also, the book which this season is based on is like the big fan favorite.”
Jonathan Bailey, the actor that plays Anthony, also said that the show’s second season would be “sexier” than ever. Coughlan agreed, saying, “The chemistry is quite major, I can say that. I mean, Penelope not as much … There is a book dedicated to Penelope so it will get there. Currently she’s still a wallflower. She’s a working lady. She’s an independent woman in Regency London, so she’s doing a lot.”
The supporting actor roundtable at the Variety Virtual TV Fest presented by Amazon Advertising featured a handful of TV’s favorite stars — Nicola Coughlan, Rosie Perez, Anthony Ramos, Courtney B. Vance, Hannah Waddingham and Michael K. Williams — who discussed fighting through imposter syndrome and maintaining identity through the ups and downs of the entertainment industry. The group offered advice, with Perez remembering one piece of wisdom she once heard.
“You know what her problem is? She compares, she compares her career to everybody else and she’s so bitter,” she recalled her friend saying. “It’s the worst thing an actor can do is to compare. Your career is your career, your path is your path. That’s all you need to be concerned about because otherwise you’re just going to be a miserable person.”
Netflix’s most watched series has catapulted Nicola Coughlan to international fame – even Drew Barrymore now follows her
In the past year, Nicola Coughlan, 34, has gone from relative unknown straight to the red carpet without ever leaving Galway. The actress, who plays Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton, finished filming in February last year and immediately decamped to spend lockdown with her parents in Ireland. When Bridgerton aired at Christmas it became Netflix’s most watched series: 82 million households around the world watched, agog, as Coughlan’s character was revealed as the mysterious Lady Whistledown, the society chronicler at the heart of the drama. Meanwhile Coughlan was helping her mum with the cooking and cleaning, and the only thing that changed about her life was her Instagram following.
“I went from 200,000 followers to 1.2 million overnight, which is just ridiculous,” she says via Zoom from the London flat to which she’s only recently returned. “Drew Barrymore and Sarah Jessica Parker now follow me. That’s crazy! I’m posting a picture and I’m like, ‘What would Drew Barrymore think? Eighty-two million households is unfathomable, it’s surreal, and the only measure we have of it is online. A million followers on Instagram is a mad number of people.”
Read more at the Source
For PEOPLE’s 2021 Pride issue, Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness and Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan open up about chosen family
Jonathan Van Ness and Nicola Coughlan are major #FriendshipGoals.
For the 2021 Pride issue, PEOPLE spoke to LGBTQ stars about their chosen family, and Van Ness hopped on a Zoom call with Coughlan to open up about their deep bond that quickly transcended friendship.
Before they became friends, the pair were fans of one another. He loved her work as Clare Devlin on Derry Girls, and she — like the rest of the world — was instantly enthralled by the benevolent, non-binary super-hairstylist on Queer Eye.
“Queer Eye had just come out, and I was like, ‘I don’t know who that person is, but I love that person,'” Coughlan, who was so taken with the new self-care guru that she got his face screen-printed on a sweatshirt, recalls to PEOPLE.
After Coughlan tagged Van Ness in a photo of the sweatshirt, the stars, both 34, became fast friends on Instagram in 2018.
“Our friendship really is just so special to me because Nicola’s been in this industry for a minute, and I haven’t, and there’s just been so many times where I had questions and didn’t know what to do, and needed feedback,” Van Ness says. “She’s helped me navigate all sorts of situations that I never thought I’d find myself in.”
The duo finally met in person a year later when Coughlan visited New York City, where they went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child together on Broadway. During the play’s intermission, Van Ness — who was working on his memoir at the time — told the Bridgerton actress that he wanted to publicly reveal his HIV diagnosis.
“A lot of folks in my orbit were like, ‘Are you sure?’ But Nicola has consistently been so supportive,” Van Ness says. “We are consistently there for each other.”
Adds Coughlan: “It felt like we had met before. It just felt like we’d been friends forever. Then our friend groups just sort of melded together.”
Indeed, while COVID-19 kept them physically separated (he in the U.S., she in the U.K.), Van Ness and Coughlan’s bond has only grown stronger during the pandemic.
They stayed in touch with regular Zoom catch-ups and game nights, which included Van Ness’ husband Mark Peacock, his aunt Julie (the “original JVN,” whom Coughlan calls “the most legendary person in the world”), Coughlan’s sister and various friends.
“The fact that our friends and family know one another and have love for one another — that’s incredibly special, and it’s rare in the world. It just means so, so much, honestly,” Coughlan says.