“Bridgerton” still has “steam” without regé, says Adjoa Andoh

While Bridgerton writer Penelope Featherington (played by Nicola Coughlan) may be full of mysteries as England’s infamous Regency-era gossip kingpin, it’s actually Adjoa Andoh’s Lady Danbury who holds all of Ton’s skeletons in her hands.

Andoh has earned plaudits for the critically acclaimed Netflix series as the sharp-tongued but perceptive dowager duchess and caretaker to the sizzling Simon Basset, played by Regé-Jean Page, who left the series after the first season.

Ahead of Friday’s season two premiere, the 59-year-old British actress spilled English breakfast tea – or Earl Grey, whatever drink you like – to The Post about the show’s seemingly overnight legacy, the season two lead Jonathan Bailey and his search for love, and her character’s mission to stay at the top of British high society.

Season 2 focuses on Bailey, 33 – who portrays Lord Anthony Bridgerton – as he is charmed by newly arrived Sharma girls Kate and Edwina (played by Simone Ashley, 26, and Charithra Chandran, 25, respectively).

“Anthony Bridgerton is the eldest son, the man of the family, so he has a huge responsibility and now he’s being added to it [obligation] to get married this season,” Andoh explained. “So viewers will see him stepping onto the plate – and who gets his heart pumping.”

Adjoa Andoh has revealed some of the juicy – and sexy – secrets of the upcoming season of Bridgerton.
Courtesy of Netflix

And Andoh promised fans will be pleased with the sparkle Bailey’s character creates in the new episodes.

“Don’t worry that with Regé’s departure you’ve been knocked out of steam,” she assured fans. “There are other people [on the show] that can produce the same amount of vapor!”

The 34-year-old Page left the show in 2020, reportedly due to creative differences with creator Shonda Rhimes and her team. He famously spiced up the romantic period drama with his NSFW, intimate scenes and viral moments — including the seductive licking of a spoon.

The theater actress noted that she misses Page, whom she calls “a pal for life,” and misses the “For the People” actor personally. “I would always love to work with Regé again and I know we will work together at some point in the future,” she said.

However, she said she “doesn’t miss him in terms of internal history for this season”.

Regarding this suspense-packed new story, The Witcher star Andoh focused on Bailey’s character Anthony, noting that various people – including Lady Danbury, Queen Charlotte and his own mother, Lady Violet Bridgerton – “will be pushing him in that direction is required of him.”

As viewers will recall, in season one Anthony had a sexy, scandalous, and ill-fated romance with an opera singer named Siena. However, the upcoming episodes will put the “female gaze” in love scenes in a new light.

Bridgeton.  (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Episode 204 of Bridgerton.  Kr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022
Season 2 revolves around Anthony Bridgeton and Kate Sharma’s relationship between enemies and lovers.

To push things along, series stars Phoebe Dynevor, Luke Thompson, Ruth Gemmell, Polly Walker, Luke Newton, Coughlan and Golda Rosheuvel are returning to the show, and new cast members are Shelley Conn, Rupert Evans and Calam Lynch.

Andoh also addressed what her own role in the show is now that Page’s character has gone like the wind since Lady Danbury acted as a mother figure to Simon, aka the Duke of Hastings, raising him in society.

“Lady Danbury has always been a high achiever at court and she has been a friend of the Queen since she came to England,” Andoh said. “So she has her own status separate from Simon Basset in terms of the world of history. But she is also, and was, a good friend of Lady Bridgerton [around] since the [Bridgerton kids] were young.

“And so the matters of the heart that occur within the members of the ‘Ton will always be of interest to Lady D,” she prophesied cryptically.

Page chose not to renew his contract after Season 1 of Bridgerton.

And where does Lady Danbury find herself in the midst of the colorful, chaotic drama? Even though Andoh’s character is a widow, she’s still pretty “brilliant,” she explained.

“[Because] She’s a dowager duchess, she doesn’t have to answer to men who held all the power at the time,” said the mother-of-three. “She’s completely independent and is among the best of social circles.”

But that doesn’t mean that life will be child’s play.

Bridgeton.  (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in Episode 208 of Bridgerton.  Kr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022
The Sharma Sisters – Kate and Edwina (played by Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran).

“As a woman in this era, Lady Danbury has as much freedom as possible – and because she is a loyal subject to the Queen, she is free,” she continued. “There are things this season that really challenge them. We’ll see that she has to deal with other complications and challenges [from the previous season].”

A major storyline in the upcoming season will be the possible revelation of Lady Whistledown (voiced by the always legendary Julie Andrews), a woman who hides in the shadows and writes about the people of ‘The Tone’. While her identity was revealed in a dramatic and tongue-in-cheek twist in the closing minutes of the season one finale, her face was only revealed to viewers.

Andoh says that Lady Danbury knows everything since she is in the Queen's circle.
Andoh says that Lady Danbury knows everything since she is in the Queen’s circle.

“The audience knows something that the characters on the show don’t. It’s a cat and a mouse [game]’ remarked Andoh.

“What will happen if they prevail and [vice versa]? Penelope Featherington has fused into a jigsaw puzzle of her own creation,” Andoh said of the character, who was revealed to be a 19th-century version of “Gossip Girl.”

One person who wanted to unravel the mystery was the curious Bridgerton sibling Eloise – portrayed by Claudia Jessie, 32 – who has been on a quest throughout the final season to uncover the true facade of Whistledown. But until the end of the first season, she remained in the dark that her best friend Penelope was the one who dressed up.

“When [the characters] discover, what would be the consequences of that?” Andoh asked rhetorically about the “tension” created by the mystery. “When will the other characters prevail? These are hypothetical questions [that will be answered].”

Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Episode 202 of Bridgerton
Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in episode two of season two.

Die-hard Bridgerton fans are surely ready for answers. The series released on Christmas Day 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic and quickly became one of the streamer’s most watched TV series, offering “excitement, glamour, fabulousness” and of course “intrigue,” Andoh said. The global phenomenon – which has already been renewed for a third and fourth season – even garnered a lot of love from famous fans like Kim Kardashian.

The show is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn, whose second novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me, serves as the basis for the latest installment – which Andoh says will be just as heated as the last.

“Season 2 knows what it is, so it’s going full steam ahead. in the new season, [fans] will get everything you got in Season 1 – you’ll get it fast, furious and fabulous!” Andoh said.

“The show goes, ‘Oh yeah, we know what we are! Buckle up — we’re coming back,'” she added. “There’s this excitement and confidence in the show.”

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