Bridgerton casts Simone Ashley in major season 2 role

Sydney Bucksbaum
·2 min read

Maureen Lee Lenker Introduces ‘Bridgerton’, a Risqué Regency Romance from Shonda Rhimes

EW Digital Writer, Maureen Lee Lenker, discusses the new Netflix series, 'Bridgerton,' applauds the show's diversity, and praises the series' standout performances including those from Regé-Jean Page, Jonathan Bailey, and Nicola Coughlan.

Dear reader, a new Bridgerton casting announcement has arrived that's sure to send shockwaves through the ton.

Sex Education star Simone Ashley has landed the major season 2 role of Kate Sharma on Netflix's Shondaland romance, and she's going to give Lady Whistledown much to write about when she catches the eye of the eldest Bridgerton brother, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey).

According to the official character description, Kate is "newly arrived in London," and is a "smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included." The new love interest hails from the second book of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton novels, The Viscount Who Loved Me, in which her name is Kate Sheffield (Anthony being the titular nobleman).

"The show was always set out to be primarily one book per season," showrunner Chris Van Dusen previously told EW. In the second book, Kate goes toe-to-toe with Anthony as the older sister of the woman he decides to wed. Kate attempts to prevent the betrothal believing that his past as a rake makes him poor husband material. But when sparks begin to fly between her and Anthony, not even Lady Whistledown can predict the outcome of that match.

Netflix

"There's always going to be differences from source material, but the fans of the books are going to see that the elements they love of the books on screen too: the way the siblings banter, the way Violet loves her children, and the love stories at the hearts of each book — these moving, sweeping romances with all the twists and turns, and their steaminess," Van Dusen said.

For his part, Bailey has told EW that he hopes his character "meets someone who is as opinionated and offended by Anthony as we all are," adding that he thinks the book version of Kate is a "brilliant character. She hopefully will be the voice of the audience and then they'll work something out together."

Ashley is best known for playing Olivia on Netflix's Sex Education. She also appeared in Broadchurch and Detective Pikachu.

Back in January, an announcement from Lady Whistledown herself revealed that season 2 of Bridgerton is coming after the show was hyped as Netflix's biggest series ever. It was also teased that Anthony "intends to dominate the social season" and that she'll be at the ready to "report on any and all of his romantic activities."

Bridgerton is set to return to production in the spring.

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