TV & Film

EXCLUSIVE: Bridgerton stars Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton discuss the upcoming season

“What we’ve loved about this season is that grow as individuals but also as a couple.”

Just a short drive from Sydney is the quaint but charming town of Bowral. 

And for three exquisite days, I visited the town while it was completely overtaken by Bridgerton in honour of the upcoming third season. 

Picture fresh flowers everywhere, candles that smelt of citrus and honey, horses and carriages roaming the cobblestone streets, men and women in their regency best and, of course, Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton. 

The stars of Bridgerton, who respectively play this season’s couple of interest Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton, were in Bowral too and attended every event I did. 

On the first night, Nicola and Luke (and I!) attended a special advanced screening of the first episode of Bridgerton Season 3. 

“What we’ve loved about this season is that both [Penelope and Colin] grow as individuals but also as a couple,” Luke said before it played. 

“They find their strength together,” Nicola chimed in. 

The second day we were all treated to watercolour painting, a perfumery workshop and a delightful tour of the historic Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa – a grand estate that was originally built at the turn of the twentieth century by the Hordern Family of retail and pastoral fame. 

And on the third day, the Bridgerton garden party of a fan’s dreams was held. A hot air balloon, antique chandeliers, more fresh flowers and elegant chaise longues adorned Milton Park’s grounds. 

Guests were treated to honey-flavoured cupcakes topped with icing sugar bees, freshly-made peach iced teas, and complimentary tarot and palm readings… 

I honestly had to keep pinching myself for the entire three days as it was oh, so magical and surreal. 

A hard pinch was also in order when, during the trip, I was lucky enough to sit down with both Nicola and Luke and actually discuss Bridgerton! 

BOWRAL, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 21: Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan attend the “Bridgerton” Season 3 launch on the grounds of Milton Park Country House on April 21, 2024 in Bowral, Australia. Stars of the show Nicola Coughlan (“Penelope Featherington”), Luke Newton (“Colin Bridgerton”) and Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell, were all in attendance for the celebration of season 3 of the Shondaland hit series. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images for Netflix)

Read The Weekly’s full interview with Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton below. 

The Weekly: Is there a gossip or ‘Lady Whistledown’ onset?

Nicola: People say that it’s me but it’s not really. 

Luke: You had no time this year. 

Nicola: I had no time to. But there are certain people, I will come to him like, “Did you know this?” 

Luke: Yeah. 

Nicola: But I’m not going to tell everyone. 

Luke: That’s true. I feel like you’re very good at knowing what’s going on. You’ve got the finger on the pulse. You’re very just good at that so it’s very useful. But even like, you know when Nicola and I first met, Season 1, we came into the dance studio and I hadn’t read the book at this point, and she was like, “Oh [Romancing Mister Bridgerton] this is going to be our story together. That’s so cool that at some point we’ll get to do it”. And then she was like, “I’m Whistledown by the way.” And I was like, “No!”

Nicola: I was too excited. No, I’ve just realised who the true Whistledown is on set. It’s always the drivers. The drivers know the tea, always. We’d be like, “We’re waiting for this script.” And they’d be like, “Yeah we’ll be filming in such and such.” And we’d be like, how do you know? Or “This person’s not staying in the hotel, they’re doing this.” If you want the gossip, that’s who you need to go to. 

Luke: They’ll know when we’re starting next season before we do. 

Nicola: 100 percent they will.

The Weekly: What was the most memorable moment from filming this season for you both?

Nicola: It’s way too many to give just one.

Luke: Yeah, there is. Or any that we can talk about?

Nicola: I think our first scene that we shot together. It was a crazy feeling because you were ill the first week of filming.

Luke: Yeah I was.

Nicola: So the first scene is like a full moon theme ball. We’ve done so many scenes together [but] It’s like our first scene as the leads. It’s so different. But watching it back I was like can you tell it’s the first one?

The Weekly: Nicola, Julie Andrews obviously voices Lady Whistledown; what’s it like having such an iconic person voice your character’s alter ego? Have you ever met her?

Nicola: No. I would love to meet her. I would be very intimidated because she’s a proper, proper icon but it’s the coolest thing. And sometimes if people meet me and they go, ‘what do you do?’ And I can honestly go, oh, I job share with Julie Andrews. You know, it’s a really nice thing to be able to say. I still can’t really believe it.

The Weekly: Have either of you read the books; what’s your favourite book in the series?

Luke: I’ve read each one per each season.

Nicola: Yes, same.

Luke: So I’ve done up to 3, so, yeah, at some point.

Nicola: Yeah. I’ve done 1, 2, and 4 as well. When we know when next season is, then I will start to read it.

The Weekly: Aside from your own, which character do you relate to the most?

Nicola: I’m a bit of an Eloise. Yeah. I feel like a lot of people find an issue and I’m like, no. Claudia and I always joke that I am more Eloise and she’s more Penelope in real life. Don’t you think so?

Luke: Yeah. I think for me, maybe if I was going out with the brothers, probably Benedict. I like his, like, relaxed, carefree, likes a joke. Sometimes I think he’s funnier than Colin. It really annoys me.

Nicola: He’s not funnier.

Luke: Yeah. He’s a funnier one. But anyway, maybe Benedict. I can’t think of anyone else. I don’t want anyone else. I want Colin. Okay.

The Weekly: Was it daunting or exciting to step into the spotlight this season?

Nicola: It’s a lot. The show is just a juggernaut. It’s like way beyond our comprehension, the scale of it. Even seeing everyone in Bowral, all dressed up and getting to travel all over the world with it, we’re, like, okay, wow. But, yeah, it’s both. But I think we we had a lot of time to process that we were going to lead this season. And then I think in the doing of it, I became more confident. I think it was like a real journey for us, wasn’t it?

Luke: There was a point midway through where I remember we had a conversation of being really comfortable in these roles and the journeys that they were on because it was a very different journey to what we’d experienced in previous seasons. And then I almost felt like we could have got anything thrown at us on on the day and we would have been able to just facilitate and just do that.

Nicola: We got to a point at the end where we were like, it just feels effortless now, doesn’t it? We just got to such a flow.

Luke: Damn it. Last scene of last day.

Nicola: We finally figured it out.

The Weekly: Have you found that people stopped sharing gossip with you, in real life, now that they know you are Lady Whistledown? Do you feel people on set don’t tell you things that are happening?

Nicola: Well, yeah, because I’ve got this reputation of it. I’m like, I am not really Lady Whistledown, guys. Also, as I said, I’ll have a few trusted people. Like I would tell you [Luke], and I would tell Claudia. And Jesse and Farida. That would be about the extent of who I would tell this to. But, there’s never enough salacious gossip on the set of Bridgerton though.

Luke: There’s not. It’s like very family vibes in the Bridgy world, which is quite nice. There’s not like drama.

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