Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan calls for a queer love story on the hit Netflix series

Hike up your bosoms and tighten your corsets, Bridgerton is back for season three. And there could finally be a queer romance on the horizon.

Despite featuring LGBTQ+ royalty in the shape of out gay actor Jonathan Bailey, Netflix’s upper-crust romance drama has never included a queer love story. It’s a sad fact that has caused some friction within the show’s large LGBTQ+ fan base, with some describing its earlier inclusion of a gay sex scene in a season one trailer as “queerbaiting”.

The trailer for the first season in 2020 included two men having sex, but it turned out to be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment between minor characters, and fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths. Season two also failed to deliver, with much of it focusing on Bailey’s straight character Lord Anthony, the eldest member of the Bridgerton family, trying to find a wife. 

Gay star Jonathan Bailey plays heterosexual Lord Anthony in Bridgerton. (Netflix)

As fans prepare for the first part season three to drop next month – with part two set to arrive in June – things could be about to change. Speaking to Pride, the drama’s new showrunner Jess Brownell revealed that a queer love story is coming our way.

“This is a show about love in its many forms and it’s only right for us to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories,” she said. “I want to see more queer joy on my screens and that was definitely a priority for me when I stepped into the showrunner role.”

The writer refused to be drawn on whether the queer storyline will be introduced through new characters or whether an existing one is about to explore their sexuality.

“How exactly that plays out over this season and the next couple seasons, I can’t say specifically, but I will say I’m excited for fans to see that,” she said.

Nicola Coughlan, who plays youngest Featherington daughter Penelope, added that she cannot wait for the LGBTQ+ love tale.

Although Coughlan played a lesbian in Channel 4’s Derry Girls, she’s unlikely to be at the centre of this gay storyline, with season three set to focus on Penelope’s interest in Colin Bridgerton.

While Bridgerton is set in the Regency era, it’s really a “world that has never existed”, she added. Therefore, queer love is very much permitted.

Bridgerton season three will focus on Penelope and Colin’s love story. (Netflix)

“I think there’s so much space there for queer love stories and I think all love stories deserve to be celebrated,” Coughlan said. “I hope in time we get a leading queer love story in this show.”

Last year, Bailey shared his hope that Bridgerton would include more LGBTQ+ representation, while Julia Quinn, the author of the book series that inspired the Netflix hit, has previously said it would be a good idea to bring LGBTQ+ characters into the mix.

Fans of the show have had a little taste of queer representation already, with the spin-off Queen Charlotte featuring a gay romance between the monarch’s assistant, Brimsley, and the king’s secretar, Reynolds.

Part one of Bridgerton season three is due to drop on Netflix on 16 May, with part two set to stream from 13 June.

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