Welcome to the Dazzling Nicola Coughlan, your largest online source for Irish actress Nicola Coughlan. She is best known for her roles in Channel 4's Derry Girls as Clare Devlin and Netflix's Bridgerton as Penelope Featherington. Our site aims to bring you the latest news on Nicola and her career along with providing a comprehensive gallery of her work and appearances. We hope you enjoy the site and come back soon!
Nicola for The Times’ BAFTA Portfolio
Sarah • June 5th, 2021 0 comments

Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan — ‘How many people can say they job-share with Julie Andrews?’
Sarah • June 5th, 2021 0 comments

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.”

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Jonathan Van Ness and Nicola Coughlan Open Up About ‘Rare’ Friendship After Meeting on Instagram
Sarah • June 3rd, 2021 0 comments

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.


Nicola for Vanity Fair’s Emmy Portfolio
Sarah • May 21st, 2021 0 comments

“I love costumes. I love hair. I love makeup,” says Nicola Coughlan, who pretty much hit the glam jackpot playing Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton, Netflix’s addictive period romance. The only downside to those candy-colored costumes was what Coughlan wore underneath: “The corsets were not comfy, but I have still been known to nap in one.” Bridgerton became Netflix’s most watched original series with its 2020 debut, and like the rest of us, the Coughlan family was all in—including Coughlan’s sister, “the number one Bridger-fan,” who’s watched the series five times. “I didn’t want to watch the racy episodes with my mum, but she insists that we watch everything together, so I ended up fast-forwarding through them,” says Coughlan. “Some people can deal with the embarrassment of that, but I am absolutely not one of those people.”

‘Bridgerton’ Renewed for Seasons 3 & 4
Sarah • April 13th, 2021 0 comments

Exciting news came out this morning: Bridgerton has been renewed through season 4. Season 2 is currently in production.

Nicola for the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards
Sarah • April 5th, 2021 0 comments

While events are still being attended remotely, Nicola participated in the SAG awards last night where Bridgerton was nominated for Ensemble in a Drama Series.

‘Happy Days’ Table Read ft. Nicola Coughlan, Henry Winkler, Glenn Close & More!
Sarah • April 5th, 2021 0 comments

We’ve got happy news for Happy Days fans.

PEOPLE has partnered with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation to present a virtual table read of a 1975 episode of the beloved sitcom on Monday. The event will raise funds to provide emergency financial and medical assistance, disaster relief and scholarships to SAG-AFTRA artists and their families, as well as support the Foundation’s free educational programming, including its children’s literacy program Storyline Online.

Happy Days ran for 11 seasons on ABC from 1974 to 1984. Set in 1950s and ’60s Milwaukee, it followed the Cunningham family: father Howard, mother Marion, son Richie and daughter Joanie, as well as Richie’s friends Potsie and Ralph and, of course, local bad boy, Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli.

Derry Girls Prepare For Red Nose Day 2021
Sarah • March 17th, 2021 0 comments

New & Upgraded 2019 Appearance Photos
Sarah • March 15th, 2021 0 comments

Hello, everyone! Hope you’re all doing well. Today, I added some missing events from 2019 along with some additions to events already in the gallery and even upgraded a few photos. I hope you all enjoy!

Nicola Writes about Complex Women for The Guardian
Sarah • March 6th, 2021 0 comments

No one would give a note asking Walter White to be sweeter – so why should women on TV be appealing?

In the noughties, I adored Sex And The City. Like women everywhere, my friends and I debated which of these four impossibly stylish, successful women we were – when the reality was a bunch of university freshers who drank Buckfast from the bottle and lived in hoodies. We probably had far more in common with The Inbetweeners, but there were no female Inbetweeners on screen to compare ourselves to. Where were the messy women? The loud women, the ones who were complete eejits?

When I got the script for Derry Girls many years later, it felt like being handed the holy grail. Erin, Orla, Michelle and Clare (my role) were the female characters I had been waiting for: properly funny, obnoxious, unlikable at times. I remember the show’s creator, Lisa McGee, telling us that she had received a note asking her to make Michelle (the gobbiest one) a little softer, less in your face, more palatable. Her response: why?

So much television allows for, even centres on, deeply flawed male characters, far less so women. Would anyone give a note asking that Breaking Bad’s Walter White, one of TV’s best villains, be a little sweeter? Of course not. It made me wonder how many complex women have been toned down, or removed from our screens, on the basis that women have to be likable above anything else.

When we were filming the first series of Derry Girls, I worried whether people would like it. I had watched the intense backlash against the female Ghostbusters film unfold, an experience its director, Paul Feig, described as the worst misogyny he’d ever encountered. Seeing my comic heroes Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy get trashed online made me fear how the “women aren’t funny” brigade would react to our show.

But I shouldn’t have. When Derry Girls went out in 2018, it quickly became Channel 4’s most successful comedy in 13 years, proving what I’d long suspected: that there was a hunger for stories about women and girls. Who knows why it was embraced when something like Ghostbusters wasn’t; perhaps it helped that our show was an original piece, and that we couldn’t be accused of “ruining men’s childhoods”, as some had claimed, by inserting women into a male franchise. Derry Girls was always going to be about, well, girls.

During filming, we worried about making performance choices that were too “big”, or “going full Rik Mayall”, as I like to call it. But our director, Michael Lennox, encouraged us to “go there”, which I think is a huge part of the reason people responded to the show. These girls were free to be “a gang of dicks”, as McGee lovingly calls us. Fans tell me that they’re the “Clare” of their friendship group, and their best pal is the “Orla”. Women were able to see themselves in these characters.

After Derry Girls’ second series, I had the rare luck of being cast in another show that explored the complexity and depth of female friendship. In Bridgerton, I play Penelope Featherington, a shy young debutante in Regency London, who has a ride-or-die best friend in the form of Eloise Bridgerton (played by the wonderful Claudia Jessie). During filming, we met Julia Quinn, author of the books Bridgerton is based on. She explained that, yes, her books were love stories – but that the biggest romance, in a sense, was the friendship between Penelope and Eloise. The show has since become Netflix’s biggest hit to date, and it’s gratifying to see audiences connect with Penelope and Eloise, or #Peneloise as the kids are calling us. We have been written as real human beings, not facsimiles of what we think a Regency woman was.

When you look at some of television’s recent successes, you see what happens the moment after the Bechdel test is passed (in which two women talk about anything other than a man). You get into the nitty-gritty of what happens between complicated women. Thank God Fleabag and her sister Claire are allowed to be so awful to one another, so that the moment when they express their love becomes hugely poignant. Thank God Arabella and Terry betray one another in I May Destroy You, because women don’t always do the right thing. And thank God for Abbi and Ilana in Broad City, whose weird, compulsive connection completely reflects how obsessed I can be with my female friends; with their humour, their kindness, their tenacity, their talent. Blessed be the friendships between Leslie and Anne in Parks And Recreation, for Rue and Jules in Euphoria, for Candy and Lulu in Pose.

The best moments on the sets of Derry Girls and Bridgerton came when the young women were allowed to be unapologetically themselves, never worrying that they might not be appealing. I, for one, am excited by all the difficult, brilliant, complex women to come, who have yet to grace our screens. Long may the sisterhood reign over us.


Current Projects
Wealth, lust, and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency-era England, seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.
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The personal exploits of a 16-year-old girl and her family and friends during the Troubles in the early 1990s.
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