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The marvellous Mr Bridgerton

Photographs by Piczo
Styled by Anish Patel

Breakout star of the most streamed show on Netflix of all time, Jonathan Bailey takes a walk with Laura Craik to discuss Bridgerton’s runaway success, whether gay actors should play straight (and vice versa) and the weirdness of Covid-era fame

Alexander McQueen raincoat, £2,540; boots, £590. Dior sweater, £950; trousers, £740; T-shirt, £430

There are worse places to conduct an interview than a park, and at least it’s only drizzling. The only problem is that people won’t leave Jonathan Bailey alone. Which is to be expected, of course: he’s in Bridgerton, the most-watched original Netflix series in its history, viewed on 82 million accounts in a month since it dropped on Christmas Day. Wait. Did I say people? I meant dogs. They snaffle at his heels and rub against his legs while the humans remain impervious.

This is because, devoid of his mutton chops and tailcoat, the 32-year-old actor looks a world away from Viscount Anthony Bridgerton, brother of Daphne; lover of Sienna; friend and foe of Simon, Duke of Hastings.

Today he’s dressed in a nylon jacket and sporting very different hair. ‘Bit of a spoiler for season two — I’ve had a light perm,’ he smiles. And even if Bailey had spent the past two months in full regency costume, fame would have eluded him until lockdown eased and the usual signifiers — being hassled in restaurants, endless selfie requests — were back on the table. Until then it lies in wait, preserved in aspic.

Dior trousers, £740; loafers, £700; T-shirt, £430; ring, £360. Lanvin cardigan, £770; jumper, £570. Alighieri necklace, £185

“To me and all the British cast, it feels like Nasa. Netflix launched this spaceship, and you get launched into space. It’s a brilliantly traumatic thing to experience”

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Dior blazer, £1,900; T-shirt, £430. Ludovic De Saint Sernin boxer shorts, £275; Jacques Marie Mage sunglasses, £640

“I knew that I wanted to be visible about my sexuality, because in all the territories that Netflix goes out in, there might be a boy somewhere that goes, “Wait, what?””

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Dior jacket, £1,900; T-shirt, £430. Sandro cardigan, £239. Ermenegildo Zegna shirt, £790; shorts, £750. Grenson boots, £350. Tokyobike bike, £520

“let’s blow away all the cobwebs, and one of the hang-ups and shadows of the past is that we need to be a lot more open to the idea of sexes playing different sides”

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Dior jacket, £1,900; T-shirt, £430. Sandro cardigan, £239. Ermenegildo Zegna shirt, £790; shorts, £750. Grenson boots, £350. Tokyobike bike, £520

“You work and strive to be an actor, and you can get better at it,
and enjoy it. But you can’t be good at fame or enjoy it”

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Dior jacket, £1,900; T-shirt, £430. Sandro cardigan, £239. Ermenegildo Zegna shirt, £790; shorts, £750. Grenson boots, £350. Tokyobike bike, £520

“Bridgerton is actually delivering on changing the bar, and the standard, of representation”

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JW Anderson trench coat,
POA. Nanushka vest, £240. Studio Nicholson shorts, £225. Grenson boots, £350

Grooming by Liz Taw at
The Wall Group using Davines. Photographer’s assistant: Shota Kamei. Stylist’s assistant: Koby Ohene. Shot on location at
Chiswick House and Gardens. Flowers by Flowerbx