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Manchester Evening News

Netflix Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan confirm new romance for season 3 as series strays away from original storylines

It's quickly gained something of a cult following with thousands of viewers tuning-in to watch the trials and tribulations of the powerful and posh Bridgerton family of Regency era England in Bridgeton on Netflix - but some of the keenest fans are set to be disappointed when the series strays from its popular original storylines in the next season.

The series, which has set multiple viewing records on Netflix including being the most-watched English-language series on the streaming service, is based on The Viscount Who Loved Me, a New York Times bestselling historical romance novel series by American author Julia Quinn.

The novel series, which totals eight books, was adapted for Netflix by production companies Shondaland and CVD Productions. Its first season aired on Christmas Day 2020, with the second season following in spring 2022.

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So far, every episode has followed the original storylines from the novels pretty closely, with the first season depicting the events of the first novel and the second season showing the events of the second novel - but the upcoming third season of the programme is set to surprise readers and viewers when it moves away from the plot of the books.

Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan, who also starred in Channel 4's smash hit series Derry Girls, says it's her character's love affair which will be the focus of the third season - not Benedict's romance, the focus of Julia Quinn's third book.

The 35-year-old actress from Galway, Ireland, revealed that her character Penelope is secretly in love with Colin, a family friend of hers for several years, and said the pair's friendship will blossom into something more in upcoming episodes, reported The Mirror.

Speaking at the Netflix FYSEE Space, a Netflix-organised panel event, on May 15, she said: "Like Lady Whistledown, I have been keeping a secret for quite some time and I can confirm to you all that season 3 is Colin and Penelope’s love story.

"I have kept that secret since two weeks into season 2. This is the first time I am saying it here."

The news was later confirmed by Netflix on social media. Sharing a letter "penned" by character Lady Whistledown, Netflix wrote: "Bridgerton news: Season 3 shall follow the budding relationship of Mr Colin Bridgerton and Miss Penelope Featherington (aka Polin!!)."

The letter from Lady Whistledown explained: "Dearest readers, It is only fair that in this author's third year chronicling the marriage mart, Mayfair's social season should find its focus on a third son...as well as a third daughter.

"This author can confirm that the upcoming season shall follow none other than the budding relationship between Mr Colin Bridgerton and one Miss Penelope Featherington.

"With Penelope's days as a wallflower wearing thin, will she finally take bloom? Time will tell, and as always, so will this author. Your truly, Lady Whisteldown."

The announcement comes after Netflix announced a new performer had been cast in the series after star Ruby Stokes quit the programme - leading to her character Francesca Bridgerton having to be recast. In season three, Francesca will be played by actress Hannah Dodd.