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Get ready for a third helping of Bridgerton

Get ready for a third helping of Bridgerton

The fabulous Bridgerton makes its long-awaited return to Netflix with a third season, and just in case you’ve lost track of the Regency goings-on, we’ve got a handy guide to what’s what ahead of the new season

By Chris Miller, Feature Writer

The costumes! The opulence! The intrigue! The, um, sexy times! And did we mention those costumes? We were hooked on saucy Regency romance series Bridgerton from the very start, drawn in by everything from the machinations of 19th-century aristocratic life to the set design that’s a delicious feast for the eyes. And oh, the intricately choreographed, breathlessly thrilling dances! Frankly, other shows just don’t have the balls.


And now, after what we consider a cruelly long break (more than two years), Bridgerton’s back for a third season. Hoorah! The first four episodes arrive in Apps > Netflix on Thursday 16 May, with the rest of the season coming on Thursday 13 June.



That’s a fair old gap between seasons (admittedly filled to an extent by the spin-off Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story) and if you’re anything like us, you’re in danger of forgetting some of the more significant aspects of the plot so far. It can be tricky to remember which of those eight Bridgerton siblings is which, apart from anything.


So don’t get your Lady Danburys mixed up with your Lady Featheringtons – instead,
dip into our handy guide to the story so far. And if you’re yet to catch up with previous episodes, be warned that there are spoilers ahead…


The Ton is the centre of everything


The upper crust. La crème de la crème. And other phrases that don’t sound like railway station snack bars. The Ton (from the French bon ton, “good manners”) means the high society types of the early 1800s, all of whom are in London for “the season”, when the aristocracy’s eligible young women are presented to the Queen and generally paraded around town to attract the best possible husbands.


It may look fabulous but in reality it’s a strangely cynical and commercial enterprise: the challenge for everyone, but especially the women, is to beat the system by manoeuvring your way into a marriage based on love – as Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) eventually did in seasons 1 and 2.


And everyone’s obsessed with Lady Whistledown


The scandal sheet published by the mysterious Lady Whistledown has been the talk of the Ton ever since the first episode, as everyone from Queen Charlotte (Golda
Rosheuvel) and the influential Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) to the youngest Bridgerton children speculated about who the poison-pen author might be. The show revealed to viewers that Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) was the gossipmonger at the end of the first season, but it took another whole season of conjecture and guesswork before any other character cottoned on.


It’s becoming clear that Penelope is Our Hero

Penelope seemed a classic supporting character at the start, offering comic relief – Derry Girls star Coughlan’s forte, of course – and, having missed out on a husband as a debutante, unlikely ever to be a romantic lead. But Lady P has stealthily been moving closer to centre stage, first with the bombshell that she was the notorious Whistledown, and then with the poignancy of her unrequited love for Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton).


And as the series continues the approach of Julia Quinn’s original books by focusing on a different Bridgerton sibling in each instalment, season 3 moves on to Colin’s story, which involves Penelope “helping” him to “find a wife” as a “friend”. What could possibly happen here? Well, if it doesn’t end up with the put-upon Penelope finding happiness, we riot.


The continuing clash between two families


One of the series’ main themes has always been the contrast between the wealthy, prosperous Bridgerton family and the (relatively) impoverished Featheringtons, who are forced to scheme and manipulate to maintain their place in the Ton – something that comes naturally to Machiavellian matriarch Portia (Polly Walker), who just about keeps their heads above water.


And a rare bond between the clans, the friendship between Penelope and Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie), may have been broken. It was Eloise who deduced the true identity of Lady Whistledown at the end of the previous season, and was dismayed that her friend had kept it from her. The rebellious Eloise has also shown awareness of life outside the Ton, consorting with political radicals in season 2 – could we see more of this storyline?


We’re seeing an outsider’s perspective


The season 3 trailer promises more of Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe), the boxer who got caught up in one of the Featheringtons’ get-rich schemes and ultimately ended up with enough money to realise his ambitions and open his own gentleman’s club. While the goings-on among the upper echelons are endlessly fascinating and fabulous, it’s refreshing to see what happens outside those rarefied dances and country estates, to people who actually have to strive to get on in life.


The same applies to dressmaker Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale), who fakes a French accent to attract customers from the elite, and learns all sorts about them as a consequence. She too returns in season 3 to give more society side-eye.



When is the new series of Bridgerton on TV?

The first half of Bridgerton season 3 (four episodes) will be available to stream in Apps > Netflix on Thursday 16 May, with the second half following on Thursday 13 June. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now.


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