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Nicola Coughlan

We've known Nicola Coughlan was a wee Irish legend ever since she scored the role of Claire in the hilarious Channel 4 series Derry Girls, and never fails to stand up for LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights.

It's now been confirmed that none other than Shonda Rhimes, veteran TV producer, writer and creator of Grey's Anatomy, agrees with us. 

Netflix and Shondaland have announced hugely exciting casting news; Coughlan has secured the role of Penelope Featherton in Bridgerton, premiering on the streaming site in 2020.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The actress will work alongside massive names in the industry, such as Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Golda Rosheuvel, Jonathan Bailey, Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh and Polly Walker.

Oh, and the one and only Julie Andrews is lending her voice to the character of Lady Whistledown…So that's amazing. 

Bridgerton is based on Julia Quinn's best-selling series of novels by the same name, set in the lavish and competitive world of Regency London high society.

The show is described as uber-glamorous;

"From the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the aristocratic palaces of Park Lane and beyond, the series unveils a seductive, sumptuous world replete with intricate rules and dramatic power struggles, where no one is truly ever on steady ground. 

"At the heart of the show is the powerful Bridgerton family. Comprised of eight close-knit siblings, this funny, witty, daring and clever group must navigate the upper ten thousand’s marriage mart in search of romance, adventure and love." 

Nicola's character Penelope is a vastly intelligent girl with a sharp wit and kind heart, who prefers to quietly sway away on the outskirts of any ballroom rather than steal the spotlight.

Sadly, Penelope was born into a family who will never truly understand her and has to deal with the cut-throat environment of Regency London relatively alone.

Shonda will executive produce the show alongside Betsy Beers, and creator Chris Van Dusen, who commented; “We could not have found a more gifted group of actors to bring Bridgerton to life. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) on

He added; "When creating this series, the goal was to turn a very traditional genre on its head and make something fresh, smart, sexy and fun.

"That’s exactly what this cast embodies and I'm ridiculously excited to see them inhabit these characters and captivate viewers in their own incredibly brilliant ways.”

Gowan Nicola, keep slaying our lives. You're doing Ireland proud. Let's celebrate by watching the ultimate Claire compilation, shall we?

Feature image: Instagram/@nicolacoughlan

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The British Academy Television Awards took place last night at Royal Festival Hall to celebrate the best and brightest shows and artists on television.

It may not be as star-studded as the BAFTA's film awards, but we still did some serious style stalking. The annual celebration of the best UK and international viewing pretty much was a Killing Eve dedication party; the spy-action thriller swept the board

BBC America's hit thriller series won the Drama Series award, Best Supporting Actress for Fiona Shaw and Best Leading Actress for Jodie Comer, AKA Villainelle. Bodyguard won the award for Must-See Moment for Keeley Hawes' assassination

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the genius behind Fleabag and Killing Eve), Fiona Shaw and Jodie Comer looked gorgeous on the red carpet, each wearing block colour, demure gowns.

1. Derry Girls, of course, SLAPPED:

Look at them, what an absolute pack of rides. We've had to report a theft because the stellar cast of Derry Girls left the awards ceremony empty-handed, having earned the nomination for Best Scripted Comedy.

We can't believe they were robbed, but at least they all looked insanely good? Look at James wearing guy-liner, we're in a state of shock. Five beauties who represented their country on the red carpet. 

Did someone say…proud parents? *Wipes away tear*

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The internet and general public are up in arms over one Daily Mail UK reporter's criticism of Nicola Coughlan's BAFTA appearance.

"Her plain pink outfit was not the most flattering," wrote one (*cough* male *cough*) reporter. He'd want to think about wising up.

Of course, Nicola Coughlan absolutely cancelled him and he has been dismissed from the earth as a result of her epic photographic comebacks.

2. Dr Who is THAT? Jodie Whittaker, that's who.

The doctor showed up in a beautiful black and white ensemble that really showed next-level elegance.

Her minimalist billowing gown is effortlessly chic; we adore the first female doctor's style. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. Ruth Wilson

The actress is nominated as a leading role for her work in BBC One's Mrs Wilson, and looked ultra glam on the red carpet in a black dress with a plunging neckline.

The 37-year-old stars as her real-life grandmother Alison in the show, which chronicles the repercussions of her notorious grandfather and MI6 spy Alexander Wilson's death.

We are loving the decorative belt and buttons on her outfit, which suits her perfectly. Status: SLAY.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 4. Keeley Hawes, former secretary of defence in Bodyguard.

We have to say, this is one of our all-time favourite BAFTA outfits. The actress oozes Hollywood glamour in her flowing silver dress with a bardot neckline.

The Line of Duty star was given two nominations for her acting talents, and the 43-year-old matched her beautiful gown with a red lip. We clap our hands to you, Keeley.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5. Rochelle Humes in YSL.

The television presenter looked gorgeous in a sheer, plunging YSL dress in plain black.  The 30-year-old arrived with her husband Marvin at the Royal Festival Hall, and allowed the gown to take centre stage.

She had her dark tresses pulled back into a sleek up-do, and wore a face of natural make-up. We love the matching bow detail around her neck and the seductive slit to show off her killer pins.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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6. Lilah Parsons

The British model looked beautiful in a summery, frilled dress. The delicate black-and-white gown featured layers of material and a flattering neckline.

*Pause for applause*

Image: Getty Images/The Telegraph

7. Billie Piper, AKA Style Sniper

Piper was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in BBC's Collateral.

Her one-shoulder blazer gown stopped us in our tracks with the thigh-high slit. The mum-of-two matched the stunning stress with black, pointed heels and silver diamond jewellery and we just have to say: Bravo.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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8. Daisy May Cooper

The co-creator, writer, and star of BBC's This Country turned heads on the red carpet after going for the trash theme, telling reporters, "I decided I would donate the money I would spend on a normal dress to a food bank and come as a bin bag."

Fair play to her. She was nominated for in the Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme category, and has made our fashion list for her pure bravery and generous spirit. She even had a mini rubbish bin purse and a pigeon on her head; now that's commitment.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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9. Lucy Worsley: Suffragette Sistah

Suffragettes: With Lucy Worsley won a BAFTA last night and the leading lady dressed as an ACTUAL suffragette: We're floored. The sash should be a daily part of every woman's uniform, we think. Just add a bit of glitter and it would be perfect for any summer music festival.

The documentary uses dramatised testimony to tell the story of a group of working-class women conducting a dangerous campaign for the right to vote.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lucy Worsley

10. Holly Willoughby

The ITV presenter didn't come to play. Wearing a blue, sheer Maria Lucia Hohan gown, she stunned on the red carpet.

Holly won big in the Reality & Constructed Factual award category for I'm A Celebrity… Get me Out Of Here!, and shared the award with her older sister Kelly.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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11. Suit Up: Tess Daly

We love a red carpet risk, and wearing a scarlet suit to the BAFTAs is a bold move from the Strictly Come Dancing presenter. She looked absolutely furious when host Graham Norton made a dig about the Katya Jones/Seann Walsh cheating scandal.

The 50-year-old beauty wore a red trouser suit by Suzanne Neville, Kurt Geiger shoes, an Aspinal of London bag and Georgina Scott jewellery. We're loving the gold hoops.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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12. Last but not least: Maya Jama

The 24-year-old model and television personality looked KILLER in an ivory tassel dress. Wearing Bulgari on her neck and showing off her bust, Jama flexed her style harder than ever.

The Stand Up To Cancer host kept her make-up simple and made sure the gown has all the attention. We are looking to find a serpent diamond necklace as unreal as this one, but for an affordable price. Slide into our DMs if you discover it anywhere…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Maya Jama (@mayajama) on

Overall, the style game was strong in this years' BAFTA awards.

From cape arms, dangerous dress slits and iconic jewellery, we think Daisy May Cooper's pigeon may have actually taken the red carpet fashion crown.

michael caine crown GIF

Feature image; Instagram/@rsvpmagazine1

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Derry Girls don't just show up for their friends on-screen; the cast have now joined the protest outside Westminster to try and change Northern Ireland's archaic abortion laws.

Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney have long been outspoken for their desire to reform the state's justice system when it comes to reproductive rights, and they're women of their word.

In 2018, Lisa McGee's Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls attracted well-earned praise for it's hilarious antics, and fast became the biggest show ever to emerge from Northern Ireland. They're back for season two, and some serving of rights while they're at it;

The show is gearing up for it's return on March 5, and now that the cast have gained a high profile, they intend to use their platform for human rights issues.

Two of the shows leading actors are now in Westminster to march hand-in-hand with Amnesty International, delivering a petition asking for the Northern Irish Secretary of State to change the abortion laws.

Karen Bradley is under the spotlight today, as hundreds gather to support the protest. Polls consistently show that the residents of the province want reform, but politicians up North have refrained from speaking out.

The protest shows women marching across Westminster bridge with 28 suitcases; one for each of the women who still have to fly from the North to Great Britain every week to access abortion in the NHS system.

Protesters have delivered a petition with 62,000 signatories, and are on the Prime Minister and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to bring abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Unless there is a serious risk to a woman's life or health, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland. Unlike other parts of the Britain, the 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to the North.

Feature image: Instagram/@nicolacoughlan

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Channel 4's Derry Girls is easily one of the best shows on television at the moment, and we've been eagerly awaiting season two for MONTHS.

The hilarious antics of Northern Irish schoolgirl Erin and her best friends, plus an English boy as a hanger-on, had audiences in stitches laughing.

Lisa McGee, creator of the series, has been teasing season two for weeks, but Nicola Coughlan (who plays Clare) has finally given us the Channel 4 air date:

Derry Girls are BACK on Tuesday March 5 at 9:15pm, set your clocks ladies and gents. The trailer for the next season was released, much to the delight of fans, and it seems like the crew are more amusing as ever. 

Saoirse-Monica Jacskon (Erin) and Lisa McGee discussed what fans can expect in a recent interview, and the hype is BUILDING:

"It's definitely bigger and braver. It's bolder and we sort of venture out a bit more. But they're still the same characters, they're clumsily trying to find their way through their teenage years. They're selfish and mental!," said Jackson.

It's already been confirmed that Father Dougal himself, Ardal O'Hanlon, has joined the cast. This is the cherry on top of the Derry ice-cream.

Lisa McGee also said that the new season will be set "against the backdrop of the beginnings of the peace process. The gang are very much still getting in and out trouble. They're still trying to grow up – not very successfully!" 

Jackson said in another interview with the BBC that "in episode one, we meet a group of Protestant boys- which is very interesting for each of the characters."

"In episode two, we've an inspirational teacher, so, it's very special that we're all getting to see it for the very first time in Derry".

WE CAN'T WAIT. Bring on March 5, and the Protestant lads. Season two is going to be chaotic and gas craic altogether judging by these early premiere reactions.

Here's the trailer again, because we know you can't stop viewing it:

Feature image: Channel 4

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Former Father Ted star and all-round comedic legend Ardal O'Hanlon is set to join Derry Girls season two.

As a key character in one of Ireland's most hilarious TV shows, Father Dougal McGuire, we're over the moon to see him join the latest brilliant Irish comedy series.

Derry Girls was first released on Channel 4 back in January of 2018 and quickly became one of the most watched show in Northern Ireland's history.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The show, which is based in Northern Ireland and follows a group of school friends who get up to mischief during The Troubles, with hilarious results.

It snagged Best Comedy at the IFTA Gala Television Awards and Lisa McGee took home the gong for Best Writer for Comedy/Soap after creating the absolute gem.

Soon after the show ended, it was publicised that a second series of the show had been commissioned, and today the news broke that Ardal O'Hanlon will be joining the cast.

A release from Channel 4 claims that the Monaghan native will play the role of; “Eamonn, the awkward, middle-aged mummy’s boy of the Quinn/McCool extended family”.

Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who plays Erin Quinn spoke about the actor in an interview with RadioTimes“Ardal O’Hanlon joins our family this year, which is brilliant.” ​​

Nicola Coughlan, who plays Claire, says that the character of Eamonn is “a real Irish stereotype” – but he’s “not a priest”. “I think it’s something that everybody will recognise, and he completely gets it so on the money,” she added.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“It was really surreal, just looking at him, because he’s such an iconic figure in Ireland, and he’s such a lovely man. He’s so good in it," Coughlan continued.

“There’s a scene where it gets quite physical, and Lisa McGee came over. She was like, "Don’t bully Ardal". And we were like, "We’re not bullying him, he’s like a national treasure!" ‘Cause we had to like go for it in the scene.”

Thank the Derry Gods, the show returns to our screens next month, and we finally got a sneak peak when Channel 4 released the trailer for season two a few days ago. It's gonna be pure gas, we cannot WAIT.

Feature image: SoSueMe.ie

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Two Irish actors have come forward to reveal how they were sexually harassed by powerful industry executives when they were just starting out in the acting business.

Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan, 31, and Ballykissangel star Victoria Smurfit, 43, have both shared stories of how they were put in uncomfortable situations in order to win the respect of those in charge.

Taking to Twitter, Nicola, who plays 16-year-old Clare Devlin on the hit Channel 4 show, recalled a situation where she had been asked to "perform naked" by a "respected director" while taking part in an acting competition she was just a teenager.

Using the hashtag #GreyAreasNoMore, the Galway native admitted that the account was "barely the tip of the iceberg", adding that she has been put in much worse situations over the years.

"I had a chat with him before about what the competition would entail and he told me that if I really wanted to impress him, I should perform naked," she wrote.

"I was a kid, but no woman of any age should be spoken to by a man in a position of power, ever. Trust me, I have a lot worse stories than that."

Meanwhile, speaking to The Sunday Independent, Victoria Smurfit revealed how she had been ordered to accompany a producer to his hotel room following a successful Hollywood audition.

After a “fantastic” second audition, the star recalls how she was invited out for dinner with the production team.

Aware she needed to be on her “game”, Victoria discretely poured her alcoholic drinks into a potted plants as she laughed and joke with industry execs.

Later in the evening, the producer told the actress, who was in her 20s at the time, “you are coming with me to my hotel room.”

Clearly distressed my the situation, the actress “just played innocent”, admitting "he was very straight and very strong about it, so I legged it back to my hotel".

Upon returning for her third audition, she was told she did not get the role.

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