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Meet Bridgerton newcomer Sam Phillips ahead of season three

The English actor will appear as Lord Debling 

Lord Debling holding Lady Penelope Featherington in season three of Bridgerton
Megan Bull
TV Writer
Updated: 11 April 2024
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Dearest reader, there's a dashing new gentleman in the Ton and his name is Sam Phillips. Signed on as Lord Debling, the mysterious suitor will vy for Lady Penelope Featherington's heart in the latest instalment but can he win over our perennial wallflower? 

With Polin season just around the corner, we'd like to formally introduce you to the man behind the top hat and tails. Here's what you need to know about Bridgerton newcomer Sam…

Meet Sam Phillips

According to IMDB, the 39-year-old was born in London and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His father, Nic Phillips, is a director and producer best known for Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds of a Feather and Coronation Street

Sam Phillips and Nicola Coughlan as Lord Debling and Lady Penelope Featherington© Netflix
Lord Debling will serve as a potential suitor for Penelope

No stranger to period dramas, Sam has appeared as Sergeant Dockett in Far From The Madding Crowd (2015) and he's also featured in episodes of The Crown (2019-20) and Grantchester (2021). 

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Adding to his impressive repertoire, Sam has trodden the boards too, lending his talents to the Shakeapeare's Globe production of Much Ado About Nothing, as well as the National Theatre's West End run of The History Boys.

So, what about Sam's Regency counterpart, Lord Debling? According to Colin Bridgerton actor, Luke Newton, he's "my biggest threat," this season. A total anomaly, the character did not appear in Julia Quinn's original book series and has been introduced primarily for the series, leaving him shrouded in mystery. 

Lord Debling holds Lady Penelope's hand at a ball© Netflix
Lord Debling does not appear in Julia Quinn's original book series

Back in 2022, Deadline described Debling as a "Genial lord with unusual interests. But with wealth and a noble title to back up his eccentricities, he'll have no shortage of interest from young ladies." 

Based on first look photos, it appears that the gentleman is in with a chance of winning Lady Penelope's heart, and will grow closer to the diamond of the season. 

What is season three about?

The synopsis for season three teases: "Bridgerton is back for its third season and finds Penelope Featherington has finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton after hearing his disparaging words about her last season.

"She has, however, decided it's time to take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters. But lacking in confidence, Penelope's attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly. 

Penelope and Colin in season three of Bridgerton© Netflix
Colin and Penelope will be forced to confront their feelings for one another

"Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger. But he's disheartened to realise that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder. Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season. But when his lessons start working a little too well, Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly."

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