The Sexual Tension Between "Bridgerton" Stars Nicola Coughlan And Luke Newton Was Pop Culture Inspired

The secret behind the yearning between Bridgerton's latest lead characters is all thanks to a little TV history...and great acting, of course.

Nicola Coughlan dressed in Regency-style attire, wearing a yellow dress with puffed sleeves and a jeweled necklace

In Season 3, Part 1 of the popular historical romance drama, fans finally got a chance to witness Nicola Coughlan's Penelope Featherington/Lady Whistledown and Luke Newton's Colin Bridgerton continue down their "will they, won't they" path.

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in period costume on the set of a historical drama, engaging in conversation amidst a crowd in similar attire
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Penelope finally gains the courage to ask Colin for a kiss — something she's been dying to do for a long time. It was almost viewed as a practice kiss, with a hint of pity...something that would hold her over if she remained unlucky with love.

Nicola Coughlan is dressed in a period costume with a lace neckline, standing near a lit candelabrum in a vintage room with a fireplace and bookshelves
Liam Daniel / ©Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

"It's so heartbreaking," Luke told Entertainment Weekly. "Because you are asking the person that's closest to you to do you a favor because you are worried that it'll never happen."

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan smiling at each other at a 'Bridgerton' event. Luke wears a light grey suit jacket and Nicola wears a white dress
Mondadori Portfolio / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Well, what might've started as an innocent ask soon blossomed into a passionate exchange between two friends. The scene was taken straight out of the book Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell added, "The kiss is from the book, Penelope asking Colin to kiss her, and that was a moment we knew we wanted in there. It's such a powerful moment of seeing Pen tiptoe into her agency and into asking for what she wants."

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan in period costumes, sitting on a bench, looking at each other intently, in a garden setting
Liam Daniel / ©Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jess also revealed she had a group chat with Nicola and Luke while creating the season, during which they discussed what they wanted the kiss to "feel like." They also shared clips of their favorite on-screen kisses to figure out the best way to approach their own kiss, whether it be gentle, fiery, or a little of both.

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in a period drama scene. Nicola wears a vintage-style dress with puffed sleeves and a pearl necklace
Liam Daniel / ©Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

And some of their favorite pop culture smooches came from New Girl and Felicity. "I'm a huge Felicity fan and the first kiss between Keri Russell's character and Scott Speedman is so sexy," Jess said. "They're in the middle of having this conversation, and then Scott Speedman just lunges at her, and it really works. That isn't, though, the vibe of this first kiss."

Nicola, however, had her eyes set on a Nick and Jess from New Girl style of feverish kiss.

As for Luke, he wanted to ensure viewers understood that this kiss changes everything for his character and the way he views Nicola's character. "It's a small kiss, and it could just finish at that, but then both of them are in that moment, and it continues. That's what plays on his mind a bit — why did they continue? Why was it such a passionate kiss? Why am I feeling this way? It takes that moment for him to finally go, 'Oh shit, there is something here. There's something between us.'"

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in period costumes, posing with drinks at a lavishly decorated indoor event with candles and flowers
Liam Daniel /©Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

"He is a true romantic," Luke concluded. "Having that moment and realizing, 'Oh, I've been running away from society trying to find something, and I've actually just found it in this moment, but that can't be right because she's my best friend.' That's why there's so much going on. It was so fun to play all different ranges of emotions in that moment."

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in period costumes, standing near a market stall in a historical setting, both looking ahead
Liam Daniel /©Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

You can learn more about this scene on Entertainment Weekly.

Be sure to check out Season 3, Part 1 of Bridgerton on Netflix now and stay tuned for Part 2 on June 13.