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Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan reveals surprise fellow fan of Love Island

Nicola Coughlan (PA)
Nicola Coughlan (PA)

Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan has revealed she and actress Carey Mulligan ended up on a Love Island WhatsApp group.

The Irish actress plays Penelope Featherington on wildly popular period drama Bridgerton, which Netflix recently named as its biggest ever original series after it was viewed by 82 million households in 28 days.

The 34-year-old, previously best known for her role in Channel 4 series Derry Girls, said she had included Mulligan on a Pinterest board of ‘bad ass ladies’.

Speaking during Advertising Week Europe 2021 she explained: “I don’t tend to get star-struck. The one time I did was Michael Palin. I lost my mind because I think Monty Python were a huge influence for me growing up because I had older siblings that probably showed me the Life Of Brian a long time before I really should have seen it.

“It was at the National TV awards and Michael Palin was sat two foot away from me and I just started crying.”

During the Advertising Week panel, Coughlin was scrolling through her Pinterest board and revealed Mulligan followed her on the social media platform, adding: “We haven’t met in person but we (Carey Mulligan and I) ended up in a WhatsApp group together, a Love Island WhatsApp group…”.

Coughlan also spoke about portraying multi-layered characters, such as her character Clare Devlin on Derry Girls.

She said: “I think it just comes from wanting to play interesting women and that can mean such a range of things. For example, when I got the script for Derry Girls, I’d never sort of seen young women represented that way that we’d seen, maybe The Inbetweeners, for young guys. They were allowed to be idiots and do all this stuff, and then I was like, ‘where is that for young women?’ There’s a real gap for that.

“When (Derry Girls) came out and it was – thankfully – such an amazing success, I was like: ‘The hunger was there.’ We just filled that gap.

“Then also for Bridgerton, for me it’s about well-written characters. The women I know are so multifaceted and interesting, and a lot of female characters on screen have not been that for a really long time.”

Coughlan in character in Bridgerton (Liam Daniel/Netflix/PA)

“It’s Shondaland, so when you get a script like that, you know it’s not going to be like: ‘Oh this woman – she’s one dimensional, she does this one thing, she’s this guy’s girlfriend’. They’re not afraid to push the women in their shows to points where they do really bad things or they become really unlikable. Because you’re like, that’s the full range of human experience, (while) men I think have always been allowed to see that on screen.

“I always use Walter White as an example because he starts off as this great guy in Breaking Bad… and then becomes super evil really along the way. But no one ever said: ‘You know, we should make Walter White a bit softer’. I think hopefully we’re entering into a period of time where, I do think and hope that we are, where women are allowed to be unlikeable on screen and complex and difficult because we’re reflecting real life…”.

Bridgerton, which stars British actress Phoebe Dynevor as a debutante in Regency London, is produced by Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland and is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn.

The second series, which is set to begin filming in the UK, will follow the story of the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey.

Fans were shocked recently with news that Rege-Jean Page, who played the dashing Duke of Hastings opposite Dynevor’s Daphne Bridgerton, will not return for the second series. Netflix has also renewed the show for a third and fourth series.

Other stars appearing at Advertising Week Europe 2021 include John Cleese and Davina McCall.

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