Bridgerton: Jess Brownell, Luke Newton, and Nicola Couglan on the Friends to Lovers Journey – POPSUGAR Australia

Bridgerton is back, and this season, we’re going on a friends to lovers journey. In Season 3, Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) will have their moment in the spotlight, and we can’t wait to watch the romance unfold.

This year, we’ll see that Penelope has finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin after hearing his disparaging words about her last season. She’s made the decision that it’s time to take a husband — preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown. Meanwhile, Colin is back from his summer travels, but Penelope is giving him the cold shoulder. In a bid to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in her quest for a husband. But when his lessons start working a little too well, will sparks fly between #Polin at last?

As part of the Netflix Bridgerton in Bowral event, POPSUGAR Australia had the opportunity to sit down with Bridgerton Season 3 showrunner Jess Brownell, as well as stars Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan. There, we got to talk all things Bridgerton Season 3, like the evolution of Colin Bridgerton’s character, whether the Bridgerton glow up is real, and what we can expect to see this season.

Colin’s Evolution and the Bridgerton Glow Up

Up until now, fans have known Colin Bridgerton as a fairly lighthearted character. This year, however, we can expect to see new sides of his character emerge as he steps into the lead role for Season 3.

Season 3 showrunner Jess Brownell told POPSUGAR Australia that previously, Colin “[hadn’t] quite found himself”.

“He has been written as a guy who’s coming of age,” she explained. This year, however, Colin will enter the season “really thinking he knows who he is”, only to realise that may not be the case.

“When his feelings for Penelope start growing, I think he questions whether he really does know who he is or not,” she added.

Newton was excited for opportunity to develop new aspects of Colin’s character, and said that “[Colin] needed to go through that” journey.

“It was really fun for me to dive into that,” he said, “because one of the fans’ favourite things about Colin is his lighthearted nature and sense of humour… [but] he needed to be humbled slightly”.

Newton continued: “I loved doing the scenes later on where he’s just like, giddy and happy and —”

“They’re some of my favourites!” Nicola Couglan interjected, smiling.

“— and all his dad jokes.”

As Newton said that Colin’s happiest scenes made for “a nice environment to be on set”, he stopped himself, turning to Coughlan.

“I know you were going through it at that point,” he conceded, as they both laughed, “but I was having a great time!”

“No, I love those moments of levity between them, because it’s one of the nicest things about the show, is when you see the love!” Coughlan said. “It’s really special.”

The Impact of the Bridgerton Glow Up

The “Bridgerton glow up” has been a favourite topic of discussion among fans of the Netflix series for years, and this year, we can expect to see Colin and Penelope go through their own glow ups. However, it’s not just for our benefit as fans and viewers of the show — it’s also a reflection of the characters’ journeys.

Newton said that he “felt like there was a real shift from all departments” behind the scenes this season “to sort of tell the story of Colin’s journey while he was away”. Seeing these physical changes, he said, helped him develop Colin’s character “and really see the story” in his mind.

“From the costume, hair and makeup, every department came together and wanted to change his look completely,” Newton said. “And there was inspirations from all the places that he’d been to, so yeah. It was amazing for me to be at my first fitting and feel that there was a load of knowledge about my character just in the costumes I was wearing.”

Coughlan echoed the sentiment, praising the crew as “the most incredibly talented people”.

“There’s six people who make Pen’s dresses alone,” she said, “and for them to literally be sourcing materials from all around the world to put it together… there’s such thought and a story behind every single look.”

The impact of the glow up, Coughlan said, is that it makes them hold themselves “completely differently” as their characters evolve.

“It was amazing, the transformation this season,” she added.

The Friends to Lovers Story We All Want to See

A longtime writer and production staff member on several Shondaland shows, Season 3 marks Jess Brownell’s first time as Bridgerton showrunner. It’s an exciting moment for Brownell, but one that comes with “huge pressure” as well.

“I remember getting the call, and I was so excited at first, and then I just had this moment of, ‘Oh God, can I do this?’,” she recalled. “But once you’re in it, it’s such a fun sandbox to play in, that I really got lost in the fun, and just had a ball.”

While every season of Bridgerton has its own tone to match the featured couple, Brownell said that she’s “not trying to reinvent the wheel” for Season 3.

“I love the show, I’ve loved it from day one,” she said.

As for what we can expect for the #Polin story, Brownell said that it’s going to lean into “more of a rom-com sensibility”.

“It’s a little bit more romantic, and a little bit more comedic!” she teased.

Watch the trailer for Bridgerton Season 3:


It’s an exciting time for Newton and Coughlan, too, as they prepare to have their characters take the spotlight. For Newton, Season 3 is a culmination of “all the work [they’d] done in the lead up” to this year.

“It’s all the previous seasons, you know, and this sense that the fans are really invested in their friendship and relationship,” he said of the anticipation for Season 3.

While it “comes with pressure”, Newton added that “it’s also a beautiful thing to know that [the fans are] finally gonna get to see a story that they’ve been waiting for.”

Coughlan said that it’s “always a privilege” to be part of a beloved series like Bridgerton, but the fans’ anticipation for Season 3 is what makes it so exciting.

“It’s not like we meet Colin and Pen in Season 3 [and] they’re already fully formed into who they’re going to be,” Coughlan said. “They still have so much growing to do, and you get to go on that journey with them and it’s so satisfying.”

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 premieres on Thursday, May 16 on Netflix. Part 2 will premiere on Thursday, June 13.

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