Nicola Coughlan Had One Request In Her Bridgerton Contract (But No One Believed Her)



  • Nicola Coughlan had a clause in her contract for an intimacy-free cut of Bridgerton to show her family a PG version.
  • Coughlan’s role as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton season 3 focuses on romance and chemistry with Luke Newton’s character.
  • The show closely follows the book series it is based on, with season 3 described as more romantic in tone by Coughlan.

Season 3 of Bridgerton has a reputation for “juicy” scenes, as the Netflix period drama moved from unrequited love to a friends-to-lovers trope. Known for featuring a different couple each season, the third season of the show focused on Luke Newton’s Colin Bridgerton’s relationship with his childhood friend Penelope Featherington, who is played by Nicola Coughlan.

Although the Derry Girls star was excited to become a leading lady, she was nervous about how her family would react to some of the scandalous scenes the show has a reputation for. Despite Bridgerton’s reputation for steamy scenes, Nicola Coughlan had a clause built into her contract that allowed her to show her family a PG version of the show.


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Producers Made Nicola Coughlan An Intimacy-Free Cut Of Bridgerton

Nicola Coughlan wrote a specific clause into her contract so she could show her family a clean version of Bridgerton

Nicola Coughlan wearing an orange dress and purple eyeliner (left), Nicola Coughlan wearing a yellow dress in a 'Bridgerton' episode (right)

Although she has primarily been cast in supporting roles, Nicola Coughlan finally stepped into the spotlight in the show’s third season. This means that her character’s budding relationship with her childhood friend is the primary focus of the season. As in many relationships, things don’t always stay PG when you are getting to know a future partner.

Bridgerton has employed some creative techniques to mimic intimacy in the past, but it seems her parents won’t notice them. Ahead of the show’s third season, Nicola Coughlan revealed that she had a special clause built into her contract that guaranteed that she would be given a cut of the show that had all the intimate scenes removed.

During an interview on SiriusXM Hits 1, she revealed that, in addition to the removal of mature scenes, the producers also toned down the language in her alternate cut. Nicola Coughlan said that the ability to get an alternate cut was “literally written into my contract” but admitted that people thought that she was “saying it as a joke.”

When asked for the reason behind the alternate cut, she explained that she grew up in a strict Irish Catholic family, adding, “That’s just not how we vibe.”

However, it seems that she forgot to give her mother the heads-up about the show when she started watching the first season of Bridgerton, which premiered on Christmas Day in 2020.

“When she first saw Bridgerton, she didn’t know it was going to be saucy. And then you get a bottom — Jonathan Bailey’s lovely bottom — about two minutes into the first episode ever,” she recalled. “And she was like, ‘What is this?’ But then now she thinks it’s fantastic and really funny.”


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Nicola Coughlan Says The Show Is Very Faithful To The Books

Nicola Coughlan said that the Netflix period drama is very faithful to the book series it is based on

Nicola Coughlan in a scene of Bridgerton

The Bridgerton TV show is produced by Shondaland and based on the book series by Julia Quinn. While talking about the third season at Netflix’s Tudum event in June 2023, Nicola Coughlan said that the show is very similar to the book and described the show’s third season as more “romantic” in tone.

“I always look at the three seasons like this. I think season 1 was about passion, season 2 was about longing, and season 3, I think it’s romance all the way,” she said.

The first season of the show starred Phoebe Dynevor, who played Daphne Bridgerton. Although many fans had hoped to see her make a return in future seasons, Phoebe Dynevor warned fans that she would not make an appearance in season three ahead of the season premiere. However, she remains hopeful that she will be invited back for future seasons.

It appears that love was in the air while they were filming season three, as some of the returning cast and crew members were visibly affected by the touching scenes. “There were a lot of moments on set where we filmed something, and we’d turn around and everyone was sort of clutching their chest being like ‘Oh my God.’ It was that kind of love,” Coughlan recalled.

She went on to praise her costar Luke Newton’s “amazing” performance and felt that their “really special” chemistry translated onto the screen. She said that fans will also be happy that their love story “stays very true to the books.”

“We had one of the best times filming it and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, for sure,” she added.


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Nicola Coughlan Was Afraid Of Kissing Her Costar Due To Their Friendship

Even though she is close friends with her costar Luke Newton, Nicola Coughlan admitted she was terrified of intimate scenes

Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton

Even though the close friends knew they had to kiss eventually, they had two seasons to prepare for their on-screen relationship to turn romantic. “Luke and I read the books at the beginning of season 1, and it was funny to us. We were like, ‘Imagine if we have to kiss and do this,’” Nicola Coughlan said at the Tudum: A Netflix Global Fan Event in Brazil.

“And then season 3 comes on, and we were like, ‘Oh God,’ and then it’s like, it’s my friend. I have to kiss my friend,” she continued, going on to say that she knows fans want to watch their favorite “spicy” scenes from the books play out on screen.

“You can’t pretend to kiss someone. You have to really kiss them,” Coughlan said. “It’s a spicy one. It’s a lot of the stuff from the books that the fans expect have made it into the show.”

She specifically recalled one day on set when they had to film “a very romantic, beautifully written romantic scene. And we were just like peeing ourselves with laughter, ’cause you just have to, like, look into each other’s eyes, and we were like, ‘Oh God.'”

Bridgerton and its spin-off show Queen Charlotte are available to stream on Netflix.


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