The Irish actress, 34, confessed that she was personally responsible for spoiling Penelope Featherington’s ties to town gossip Lady Whistledown. “OK I’m just curious,” she tweeted on Saturday, February 20. “Has anyone spotted the massive Easter Egg about Penelope in the very first scene of Bridgerton?”
Fans provided many good guesses, including the bee that pops up throughout the season and how the Featherington household is shown first. However, Coughlan replied, “Ding Ding Ding!!” to the individual who correctly guessed “the quill.” She explained that while filming Penelope’s first scene, she “chose a prop, a massive, massive feather that looked a lot like” a quill.
In Bridgerton’s season 1 finale, viewers discovered that Penelope was Lady Whistledown all along. The notorious character is voiced by Dame Julie Andrews.
The person behind the town tattler remains the same as in author Julia Quinn’s book series, but the tidbit wasn’t disclosed to readers until the fourth book, titled Romancing Mister Bridgerton.
Now that Penelope’s identity is no longer a mystery to viewers, the Derry Girls star hinted at what’s to come for her character next season.
“She is surely wealthy because of Whistledown,” she told TVLine on January 9. “ But what is that going to mean? I don’t know who’s taking over the family estate and my dad, has he really been killed? Is Eloise going to figure out who Whistledown is? I know none of that stuff.”
Coughlan also raved about how “complex” Penelope is. “She’s not someone you can describe in three words. She’s a lot of things, and she’s a lot of contradictory things,” she explained to the news outlet. “Penelope is this really sweet, kind girl but she can also be really acerbic and do terrible things. She’s a woman with great ambition and who wants to have a career, but she also wants to have love and marriage and babies and all that stuff.”
The actress added, “She’s a really low-status character when she’s at the balls because no one pays attention to her. But then she’s a high-status character in that she’s Lady Whistledown, the most powerful woman in London.”
Bridgerton creator Chris Van Dusen recently credited Coughlan for dropping Easter eggs throughout season 1. “It was one of Nicola’s ideas to be spread throughout the background of these larger scenes in the earlier episodes,” he recalled to Town & Country early last month, noting that during Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset’s first encounter, “If you watch closely, you can see Penelope’s eyes there in the corner of the screen.”
Netflix renewed Bridgerton for a second season on January 21. The period drama has broken viewership records on the streamer, as it was watched by 82 million people in the time since its Christmas debut.