Published On: Thu, May 13th, 2021

Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan reveals she thought nobody would watch Netflix’s biggest EVER show

Nicola Coughlan has revealed that she was ‘convinced’ that nobody would watch racy series Bridgerton, which has become Netflix‘s biggest ever show.

The hit period drama, which was released on Christmas day, was watched by a whopping 82million households worldwide in just its first month. 

And now the actress, 34, who plays Penelope Featherington, has reflected on the ‘wild experience’ of being part of such a huge production and admitted it can be ‘really hard’ dealing with negativity online.

Got that one wrong! Nicola Coughlan has revealed that she was ‘convinced’ that nobody would watch racy series Bridgerton, which has become Netflix’s biggest ever show

Speaking during from Advertising Week Europe, Nicola explained that she was stunned when the show came out and immediately became a huge hit.

Nicola explained: ‘The show came out on Christmas Day, the biggest day of the year anyway, and I just got convinced nobody’s going to watch this.

‘It’s now just become so huge. Even when I’m not looking for it on the internet it seems to be everywhere, it’s a wild experience.

‘The weird thing when you’re making a show you have such little a concept of what the reception is going to be or even what you’re making.

HUGE hit: The hit period drama, which was released on Christmas day, was watched by a whopping 82million households worldwide in just its first month (Nicola is pictured far right)

HUGE hit: The hit period drama, which was released on Christmas day, was watched by a whopping 82million households worldwide in just its first month (Nicola is pictured far right)

‘You walk into these ballrooms and everyone looks phenomenal but you don’t know what the music is or the shots look like, how your character is coming across.’

Nicola also joked that it might have been a good thing that the show exploded during lockdown, to ‘ease the cast’ into the furore surrounding the show.  

She said: ‘Yes and no [about feeling she missed out on the hype], because I sort of experienced that with Derry Girls. It blew up in its own way and a microcosm in Ireland and then Bridgerton happened and 82m people watched that globally.

‘So partially I was quite glad I was back in Ireland with my mum when it came out, because those numbers! The only sense I really had of it was through the internet, a very strange thing trying to compute how many people that it…’

Exciting: Nicola also detailed how she's having three wigs in series two and is 'really excited' to get back on set as Penelope during the Zoom interview

Exciting: Nicola also detailed how she’s having three wigs in series two and is ‘really excited’ to get back on set as Penelope during the Zoom interview

However Nicola added that she did wish that the cast could have been together when they were nominated for a SAG award.

Nicola said: ‘The one time I really wished this was happening in person was we were nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble. 

‘And there was a moment when it was like “we’d all be in LA together and going to awards is so fun because you meet the people from the things you love!”

‘But maybe it’s been a good thing we’ve eased into it.’ 

Nicola also admitted that it can be hard when facing negativity online during the interview, praising Pinterest for having strict rules on what can be posted.

She said: ‘It can be really hard, because I enjoy interacting with people and I feel so grateful to the people who watch the things that I do and I want to say thank you so much, but you can often leave, Twitter especially, leaving so negative. 

International fame: Nicola also joked that it might have been a good thing that the show exploded during lockdown, to 'ease the cast' into the furore surrounding the show (Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne and Rege-Jean Page as Simon are pictured)

International fame: Nicola also joked that it might have been a good thing that the show exploded during lockdown, to ‘ease the cast’ into the furore surrounding the show (Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne and Rege-Jean Page as Simon are pictured)

‘But Pinterest, I don’t use it publicly… I never leave it feeling awful.’

Nicola is a big fan of Pinterest, having dozens of boards showing her lockdown meals, books and even ideas for post-Bridgerton outfits. 

She joked that after shooting to international fame in the Netflix series, she didn’t want to appear at events in just a ‘nice dress and a blow dry’.

Another board shows her Bad A** Ladies, with actress Carey Mulligan – who she’s now surprisingly in a WhatsApp Love Island group with – featuring in the star-studded collection.

Nicola also recalled how she was completely starstruck after being sat close to Micheal Palin at the National TV Awards. 

Breakout role: Speaking about how she approaches taking roles such as Penelope and Clare (pictured middle) in Derry Girls, Nicola said that she wants to play 'interesting' characters

Breakout role: Speaking about how she approaches taking roles such as Penelope and Clare (pictured middle) in Derry Girls, Nicola said that she wants to play ‘interesting’ characters

She said: ‘I don’t tend to get starstruck, but Micheal Palin I lost my mind. Monty Python was a huge influence on me growing up… at National TV Awards he was sat 2ft away from me and I started crying, I lost it.’ 

And turning her attention to the next series of the show, Nicola revealed that she’s currently in fittings for three wigs.  

She said: ‘I’m really excited to be back, that’s my happy place being back on set and working. And then Derry Girls will be after that and i’ll sleep sometime in December!’

Nicola also revealed how she thinks some of Bridgerton’s overwhelming success is down to people having previously dismissed the romance genre. 

She gushed: ‘Well its the romance genre, that’s consumed primarily by women and hasn’t really been seen on TV before, and maybe that’s why it made such a splash.

More to come: The second series of Bridgerton is currently filming, with the story set to focus on Anthony Bridgerton's quest for romance

More to come: The second series of Bridgerton is currently filming, with the story set to focus on Anthony Bridgerton’s quest for romance  

‘With people undervaluing it, and then for it to go on and be Netflix’s most watched show is bonkers. Sometimes people think, “just women like”, but women are powerful and we say what we like and support what we like.’ 

Speaking about how she approaches taking roles such as Penelope and Clare in Derry Girls, Nicola said that she wants to play ‘interesting’ characters. 

She said: ‘I think it comes from wanting to play interesting women, that can mean range of things… 

‘For Bridgerton, I think for me it’s about well written characters, the women I know are so multifaceted and interesting and a lot of women characters on screen have not been that for a long time. 

‘But this is Shondaland so when you get a script like that you know it’s not going to be “this guys girlfriend” – they’re not afraid to push the women in their shows to points where they do really bad things or become unlikable…

‘I hope we’re entering into a period where women are allowed to be unlikable on screen and complex and difficult.’

Won't be back: The Netflix show recently revealed that Rege-Jean won't be returning to series two with an announcement in the style of Lady Whistledown

Won’t be back: The Netflix show recently revealed that Rege-Jean won’t be returning to series two with an announcement in the style of Lady Whistledown

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