82 million households tuned in to watch season one of Bridgerton when it debuted in December 2020, making it the most-watched series on Netflix at the time of release with fans including Kim Kardashian, Drew Barrymore and Joe Jonas.
The popular period drama series was quickly renewed for three more instalments, with the highly-anticipated second season set to premiere in just a few days.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle ahead of the release, actress Claudia Jessie - who plays fan favourite character Eloise Bridgerton - opened up about returning to the show and the pressure to recreate the enormous success of season one.
“Leading up to filming season two I remember feeling like, ‘Oh no, I think I’ve forgotten how to do it. It was a fluke! Like, maybe I got Eloise right in season one but I’m going to ruin it in season two!’,” she laughed.
“But whenever the Bridgerton family are all together it does just feel like home. We were just buzzing to be back and the shadow of season one wasn't really too present because we were so excited.
“We've got such an amazing fan base and I just think everyone will be really pleased with it being back. But I was sort of like, ‘Oh god, oh no!’.”
Season two of Bridgerton sees Eloise entering the social season in search of a husband while also remaining focused on uncovering the mysterious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown - who was revealed in the finale of season one to be her best friend, Penelope Featherington.
“In season one Eloise would declare what she wanted for her future and how she desired her autonomy and not wanting to get married necessarily. But now being thrust into society, I think it shifts her perspective on it all because now it’s actually a part of her reality,” Claudia detailed.
“And so you get to see her really try to unsubscribe from the situation she's in, and I think it actually makes her even more thirsty to discover more about herself and Lady Whistledown.”
‘She'll always be my favourite character’
While the TV series is based on the popular collection of eight novels, Claudia admits that she never got her hopes up for the show to be renewed for more than one season.
“I think with any project I've ever come on to, I don’t really allow my brain to wander too far out of fear of attachment slash ultimate disappointment,” she said.
“So I didn't think anything during season one or after it at all, I really didn't allow it. But then we got season two and I was so happy and grateful. And then on the second day of filming season two we found out three and four had been commissioned, which was wild.
“It’s all you can ever hope for really as an actor that you can know what work is coming up. But I'll play Eloise for as long as they'll let me really, because I'll miss the day I don't get to play her anymore. I think she'll always be my favourite character I've ever played.
‘I do feel very free when I play her’
Speaking about her love for Eloise, Claudia says that she couldn’t be any more different from the bold, rebellious teenager.
“I most certainly was nothing like her when I was 17. I never would have been as courageous or brave or as outspoken,” she described.
“But one thing I think I've learned is that I'm grateful that I have a social filter in my head that doesn't allow everything out of my mouth, because not everything needs to be said and Eloise just says everything.
“She'll just say exactly what she feels with no sort of pause or break button, and I have that break button and I think I'm grateful for that. But I do feel very free when I play her and I love playing her so much. I love her.”
Season two of Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix from 25 March.
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