Blame it on first day jitters! Nicola Coughlan had a close encounter with Bridgerton costar Claudia Jessie and a period-era prop that could have ended very poorly.
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“It was my first day on set and it’s quite terrifying getting a big, Shondaland Netflix job. You think, ‘I just don’t want to screw this up,’” Coughlan, 34, recalled during a virtual appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show on Monday, February 1. “They said to me, ‘You’re very tiny, let’s put you in heels.’ And I thought, ‘I’ll do anything you want me to do. Yes.’”
The Irish actress, who portrays Penelope Featherington on the hit Netflix series, had a hard time adjusting to the Regency-era fashion she wore on-set. “It became evident pretty quickly that with the corset and the heels, my balance was not so amazing,” Coughlan continued. “I was walking along and I fell three times. The third time, I was holding a parasol — which, in the wrong hands, is a deadly weapon — and I fell forward and stabbed Claudia Jessie.”
Jessie, 31, plays Penelope’s dear friend Eloise Bridgerton, who becomes fascinated by the town’s anonymous gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown. Luckily, the parasol incident didn’t have an impact on the costars’ friendship.
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“She started bleeding,” the Derry Girls actress recalled. “But she’s still my friend! But unfortunately, there was a stabbing on the first day and I was guilty. It was not good.”
Penelope and Eloise’s close bond quickly made them fan-favorites among the millions of viewers who binged the Netflix drama in its wildly successful first month. While predicting what might be next for the friends during season 2, Coughlan told Variety that she hopes to get more screen time with Jessie.
“Claudia Jessie is just the light of the world. She’s a properly wonderful person. … She’s a ray of sunshine,” she said in December 2020. “Penelope has a hard time with her family a lot of the time, but when she’s with Eloise, you see most of her true personality. I think she finds Eloise so entertaining and she says all the things Penelope is too frightened to say. I’m all up for more Peneloise.”
Netflix confirmed in January that Bridgerton will be back for a second season. While fans can expect to see Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) at the center of attention in upcoming episodes, the creators have apparently kept their plans for other characters pretty hush-hush.
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“Trust me, the cast, we’ve been speculating heavily,” Coughlan recently told TVLine. “I text Claudia Jessie a lot and ask, ‘What do you think is happening?’ I’ve been speculating a lot about story lines and just trying to apply logic where I don’t know if logic works.”
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