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Bridgerton’s Luke Newton talks dancing, dyslexia and the perfect pompadour hairstyle

The thunderously-received, critically-adored Netflix original will focus on a new protagonist every season. We meet Bridgerton's tour de force-in-waiting…

The first of Newton’s laws (no relation, sadly) states that the trajectory of an object will hold unless a significant force acts upon it. By that logic, when the second season of Bridgerton lands on Netflix next year, it will outpace the show’s first. And that’s no mean feat — as Bridgerton’s thunderously-received, critically-adored inaugural run was embraced by over 82 million households.

It’s unrivalled success; even in these times of streaming. And riding the Regency wave is Luke Newton; the earnest, utterly charming young actor who plays the Bridgerton clan’s third son, Colin. But, despite the success of the series, Newton claims his life hasn’t changed appreciably since stepping into those handsome leather hunt boots. 

“When I’m out, friends will lean in and whisper; ‘that person over there, they’ve recognised you’. But I don’t believe them most of the time. When it does happen, though, it’s really interesting — because they always call me by my character’s name. They’ll ask; are you Colin Bridgerton?

“Although, what’s weirder is when they do know my name. Someone once asked if I was Luke Newton and it blew my mind a little bit. They actually knew me! Not just my character or my work. Me!”

But Newton had better get used to it. Despite his theatrical background — born in Brighton, both of the actor’s aunties performed on London’s West End, and he followed in their tap-shoed footsteps for many years — it wasn’t until recently that the 28-year-old decided to switch his focus from theatre to television acting. It was simply serendipity that he did so with one of the biggest shows in history.

Because Bridgerton is big. Really big. For those of you who haven’t tuned in, the show is based on a series of books — each of which tells the romantic tale of a specific Bridgerton sibling. Netflix promises to follow this format, which means that by season four Newton’s Colin will be squarely in the spotlight.

“I haven’t read the fourth book yet, though. It’s called Romancing Mister Bridgerton. I’m actually dyslexic, but I’ve decided to read each book before its corresponding season. So it’s been tough, because others on set already know Colin’s story. But I think you should always use the script as your real base. It’s great to read the books — but only to get a sense of the world.”

"What’s weirder is when they do know my name..."

And what a world. Swathed in velvet and scored with classically-flavoured covers of modern songs, Newton calls the lush, plush playground created by producer Shonda Rimes a “360-degree experience”. Everything from the dancing to the horse-riding has been both a challenge and a joy for the actor — but it’s the hair and costumes he’s most fond of.

“We were filming season two in central London, and a couple of times I didn’t de-rig. I just left my ‘Colin hair’ as it was. And everywhere I’d go, people would say I looked like an actor. Ah, I thought, this is how it works!”

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Filming the second season, Newton says, proved tricky. Thanks to a pandemic-shaped spanner, table reads (of over 100 cast members) were shunted onto Zoom, and filming was delayed by several months. 

“When we did start filming, though, we learned a modern dance. Not for the show, but for something to do at midday, or post-lunch when we were all feeling low in energy. We’d turn this track on — We Are Family by Sister Sledge — and dance around to that. It’s really nice, for everyone to just get in a room and mess around; to have some fun.”

For now, however, Newton can only wait for Bridgerton to return. And, while the second season is yet to drop, a third and fourth have already been commissioned — which means Colin and his mighty hair will soon sit front and centre of Netflix’s most lavish, luxurious show. Is Newton ready for the responsibility? “I hope so!”

Want more young British actors? Josh O’Connor reveals his favourite things about Great Britain…

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