Welcome to 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 acclaimed 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! V

Bridgerton Star Nicola Coughlan Has ‘High Hopes’ for Penelope and Colin Beyond Season 2—Find Out Why!

They always say the best solution for things is to give people what they want, but not in the way they expect. And I think this season does that really brilliantly.”

That’s what Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan, who plays lonelygirl-with-a-secret Penelope Featherington on the hit Netflix series, says fans can look forward to most when the show finally returns for Season 2 on Friday, March 25.

Of course, that’s not all there is to look forward to. The meddlesome mamas of the ton are also more than ready for their marriage-age debutante daughters to be presented to society in Season 2 of the beautiful and sensuous period drama that has captured hearts and garnered major attention around the world.

Filled with even more romance, royalty, intrigue, scandal and secrets than the first installment, Season 2 follows Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), a Viscount and the eldest Bridgeton sibling, as he sets out to find a suitable wife. His courtship and others take place under the watchful eye of scandal sheet writer Lady Whistledown, who has ruffled the feathers of Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) as she searches for this season’s diamond: the sought-after young lady who possesses such poise and beauty that she’s considered the rarest of ladies for the discerning eligible males in the community.

As for Coughlan’s Penelope, she continues to deal with her unrequited love for Anthony’s younger brother, Colin (Luke Newton) while keeping her deepest secret from her loved ones. (What secret might that be? If you’ve seen Season 1 all the way to the end, you know that she is Lady Whistledown!)

Viewers have been more than eager for the return of Bridgerton, and Coughlan has a theory about the universal appeal of the series dripping with bodice-ripping passion.

“I think sometimes people just need an escape, an escape from the darkness,” Coughlan exclusively tells Parade.com. “There’s no cynicism in Bridgerton; it celebrates love and romance in a way that I think we haven’t seen on TV in such a long time. I feel like joy has a lot to do with its broad appeal.”

Read on to find out what Coughlan appreciates

Nicola, how do you enjoy the cloak and dagger of your alter ego, Lady Whistledown?
Oh, I absolutely love it. It’s so much fun, like trying on the costume for her sort of alter ego. I loved it because Penelope never gets to wear blue. Everything has to be so garish, over the top. To get to wear this lovely blue cloak, I was like, whoa. It was very strange looking in the mirror, it felt like a totally different character in a different show in some ways. It was a brilliant challenge that I enjoyed so much.

Surrounded by all this romance, music, flowers, and beauty, does it often feel like stepping into a fairytale?
Yes. It’s funny, there is something about it that it does make you sort of go, “Oh wow, this is really overwhelmingly beautiful.” Seeing our lead couples dance together really does take your breath away. I think what I’m excited to explore when it comes to Penelope’s love story is how she’s obsessed with love. To show her that she’s worthy of love and all of that.

Do you want Penelope and Colin to get together?
Of course, I do! I love it. I just think it’s so sweet because their unrequited love story is so relatable; we’ve all been there. I think he’s such a lovely character. I think he’s so sweet and I think he really sees her for who she is. And he sort of starts to become close to her because of her writing and her wit, which I think is so nice. They say all the best relationships start off as friendships; so, I have high hopes.

How has Penelope changed from Season 1 to Season 2?
I think she’s changed a lot in that she’s had to mature, and she’s matured for lots of different reasons. She has started to realize, maybe not completely, the power that she wields. In Season 1 she was never doing it for selfish ends until it came to [trying to break up] Marina and Colin, and then she wielded it for her own advantage. I mean, yes, for Colin’s too, but there was certainly a level of selfishness in that.

I think now that she realizes that she can use it to manipulate things. She’s become even more and more powerful because more people are reading it, and the queen is obsessed and all of these things. I also think losing her father, something like that happening to you will make you grow up pretty instantly. But then I think there’s an interesting juxtaposition within her in that she’s still a kid in a lot of ways. I wanted to make that very clear in the scenes where she was with her mother and her sisters, and she’s sort of a brat and still a strappy teenager. But it was fun getting to play the sides of her that were Whistledown. And seeing how clever she is and how in control of the situation is, and how she’s deceiving people and really relishing getting away with it.

What aspect of that era, the stunning fashion and the trappings, do you enjoy the most?
I think weirdly what was quite nice about that era were the clearly defined roles. I say that and then I’m thinking immediately, there were bad things about it, too, but everything has a mixture of good and bad in it, right? I think maybe within the relationships, people being very upfront and you sort of knew you were going into this courtship and marriage being transparent. So, if people liked you, they had to make it clear and honest.

But then with that came the fact that women had very little agency over what they were expected to do. I think also people probably not having social media and not being glued to their devices all the time, and being able to spend time with their families, I appreciated that side of it. But I’m definitely a modern girl. I think I exist in this time period better than I would have in the Regency time period.

Friendship is clearly one of the major themes in Bridgerton. What can you tell me about Eloise and Penelope’s friendship this season?
This season it’s a funny one, because I think Penelope has always longed to have a friend with her at balls because that’s where she’s at her loneliest. They say you can feel your loneliest when you’re in a room full of people, and I think that’s definitely true of her. But then it’s funny because she really struggles when Eloise is there because she has a job to do and she needs to use her time to collect all this gossip in order for her business to survive. But with Eloise glued to her all the time, it makes it difficult.

Claudia Jessie, who plays Eloise Bridgerton, and I have a joke where we say half of what makes up Eloise and Penelope’s friendship is Eloise dragging Penelope out of rooms at great speed. I think that Penelope absolutely loves and adores Eloise, but it certainly becomes more and more challenging as time goes on between them.

When you are in your corset and beautiful gown and stepping into the world of these glorious balls, do you ever feel they you are genuinely Penelope Featherington?
Honestly, yes. The production side is so outrageously phenomenal on this show. Will Hughes-Jones, who’s the production designer, creates a completely immersive world. There was one ball, especially in Season 1, at a place called Halton House where they film a lot of period dramas, and we walked into this ballroom to rehearse without cameras. So, you’re looking around and you see all these supporting artists dressed up, and you have people singing opera on the stage and you go, “Wow, it sort of feels like time travel.” But that’s just a testament to how talented and phenomenal the people who design the show are.

Written by Debra Wallace
Published March 25, 2022