'I was racked with doubt' -  Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan reveals fears over season three

Virgin Radio

9 Apr 2024, 10:13

Nicola Coughlan smiling on the red carpet and as Penelope in Bridgerton

Credit: Getty/Netflix

Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan has opened up about exactly why her leading role in season three “terrifies” as well as excites her.

As the Penelope Featherington actress explained in a recent Harper’s Bazaar feature: “The major difference is that in the first two seasons, Pen was a supporting character, the oddball in the corner, but this time she’s very much centre-stage.

“The only issue with this is that ‘oddball in the corner’ is actually a niche I do very well,” she added. “I’m comfortable there! Strange girl no one pays attention to? Where do I sign up?”

Coughlan continued: “A huge theme in this series of Bridgerton is the idea that Penelope is stepping out of the shadows and into the light... But not only was this a journey that Pen had to embark on, it’s also one I had to go on myself. 

“I was presented with these brilliant opportunities but was racked with doubt as to whether I could take on the challenge… Bridgerton took eight months to film and was like a marathon; I had to play the romantic lead I never thought I would be.”

While the Derry Girls star stressed her disbelief at her Bridgerton lead status was: “not because I find myself hideous, as some people have assumed when I say that… but because it’s not something I ever dreamed of," she did admit reservations about the fame which comes from such roles.

The actress - who is currently starring in Channel 4’s Big Mood - detailed how her rise to stardom hit her suddenly just ahead of her 30th birthday, and was a moment which she still finds “hard” to comprehend. She then explained how the struggles which come from modern day notoriety, such as trolling and endless scrutiny on social media, have made all her roles more nerve-racking.

“Part of doing this job I love is stepping into the spotlight and shouting from the rooftops about how proud I am to be part of this thing, and how much it would mean for the world to love it as much as I do!,” she explained. “And with this comes scrutiny. So much scrutiny…

“I have so much love and respect for the fans of things I’ve done - I want them to know that I feel grateful - but it is difficult to navigate being online when people throw their opinions of you at you like grenades.”

But the Irish actress added: “I’m terrified of the scrutiny, the opinions, the number of eyes on me; but, ultimately, the thing that’s making me step out of the shadows, even though it terrifies me, is that I’m so proud of the work I’ve done... I hope I can show the world, along with myself, that sometimes the oddball in the corner can take centre-stage.”

Bridgerton season three part one will be released on Netflix on Thursday, 16th May.

Coughlan’s latest series Big Mood is available to watch or stream on Channel 4 now.