Bridgerton season two: Polly Walker on Lady Featherington’s future and our Duke of Hastings obsession

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The show that’s kept us talking has just been confirmed for a second season. We spoke with Polly Walker about her hopes for the next episodes and how her character, Lady Featherington, is more misunderstood than anything else.

Ever since its Christmas Day release, Bridgerton – the delectably bingeable period drama – was all we wanted to think about. Luckily for us, earlier this month Netflix confirmed a second season is on its way.

The production team behind the show, Shondaland, recently revealed – via gossip queen of the land herself, Lady Whistledown, on Instagram – that filming will begin in spring of this year. One thing we can expect is a lot more of the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony.

“This author has been reliably informed that Lord Anthony Bridgerton intends to dominate the social season. I will have my pen ready to report on any and all of his romantic activities,” reads the post. As for the release date, that’s still yet to be confirmed.

Although it may seem like a long wait, the first season did give us a lot to think about. The appeal of the Duke of Hastings (thank you to Instagram fan account The Duke’s Spoon for daily reminders), the visually pleasing sets and tastefully done sex scenes were one thing, but the pièce de résistance: the drama.

And who could forget one of the show’s most dramatic figures, Lady Portia Featherington. After making deceptive, tactical decisions to advance the lives and positions of her three daughters, Phillipa, Prudence and Penelope and distant niece, Merina – she was met with failure. 

But as Polly Walker – who plays the mother of three – tells Stylist, her deceptiveness is misconstrued. In fact, she’s more of a feminist than anything else.

Lady Featherington with her daughters.

“She’s controversial because she’s very pushy and ambitious,” says Walker. “She’s someone who was trying to survive in the Regency era where women didn’t have any power apart from marrying well. But, she’s just doing the best she can and I’m protective of her.”

It’s important to take in the context, too. Set in London’s high society in the 1800s, there were so many restrictions for women – but as Walker explains, “she’s very proactive in pushing her daughters forward. She isn’t helped by her husband and can’t depend on anybody but herself.”

“Ultimately Portia is very brave. But also she’s not trying to come up with a new virus to cause a pandemic. She’s just trying to marry her daughters off.”

The news of series two of Bridgerton is the news we all need! What can we expect for Lady Portia Featherington?

“I don’t know, I’m very concerned. She’s lost all of her money and that’s not a good thing to happen to a woman in the Regency era because that’s her whole estate. She’s no longer the lady of the manor. Only a man can inherit the estate and she doesn’t have any sons, so we’ll have to see who that might be. The series ends with her looking at a letter seeing who does inherit the estate and she doesn’t look entirely thrilled.”

Her costumes and hair are quite something. What was the process of getting ready to play her like?

“You never knew what anybody would look like until you came to set that morning which was exciting, but it was laborious. I’d get picked up at 5am in the morning and the hair and make-up team would slowly put it all together. It took hours to finish Portia’s red hair because they had to scrape back my hair, put the wig on, dress it and style it.

From 6am we’d start on the costumes. My corset was a major work of art made by the world’s most famous corset maker, Mister Pearl (who’s made Madonna and Beyonce’s corsets). We had to put it in front of a heater to warm it up and then put it on, then come back after fifteen minutes and pull it in a bit more.”

Why do you think everyone is so drawn to Bridgerton right now?

“We can’t do anything, we can’t go anywhere and we can’t meet up with large groups of people. It’s bleak. This show is the absolute antithesis to that and it provides everything; comedy, sadness and romance and the writing is excellent. It’s stylised to fit the period but is quick-witted and fast-paced.”

Finally, what do you make of the fascination we all have with the Duke of Hastings?

“Rege is a good looking guy – but also an incredibly nice guy. His aurora and his charisma is very attractive and I think that comes across.”

Bridgerton is now available to stream on Netflix

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Images: courtesy of Netflix

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