Jonathan Bailey, who plays philandering but quintessential English nobleman Viscount Anthony Bridgerton in the hit Netflix Regency drama, has a major storyline in Bridgerton season 2. As the eldest sibling, Anthony is the de facto head of the Bridgerton family following the death of his father.
Anthony Bridgerton spent the whole of the first season in an on-off relationship with a soprano singer Siena Rosso. But this time in Bridgerton season 2, which launches on Netflix on Friday March 25, 2022, there are big things ahead for the Viscount as he’s all set to settle down and find a wife.
With shows like Broadchurch, W1A, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy Crashing on his CV, Jonathan is currently one of the hottest actors around. So we thought we’d find out a little more about the 33-year-old Laurence Olivier Award-winning British actor, who plays the classic aristocratic Bridgerton rogue. Here are 12 things that may surprise you about the star…
1. Jonathan Bailey is an award winning theatre actor
Jonathan Bailey won a 2019 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for his portrayal of Jamie in the 2018 West End revival of Company. It was this success that led to him landing the role of Anthony Bridgerton, who is now set to have an even greater part to play in Bridgerton Season 2 (see first look pic below).
2. Although he plays a rakish womaniser in Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey is gay
Jonathan Bailey has spoken candidly about coming out as gay: "I was coming to terms with my own sexuality, I hadn’t necessarily hidden it, but I’ve never been not honest about it," he recently told fellow actor Ian McKellen in a feature in Attitude magazine. "It’s just there had never been a need to talk about it. There’s a sense of shame, I think, that’s palpable throughout gay men within the industry."
3. His guilty pleasure is watching musical flashmob videos on YouTube
Jonathan says: "I’ve been going down wormholes of looking at flashmobs of musical theatre numbers. They’re extraordinary!".
4. Jonathan wanted to become an actor from the age of five
Although neither his parents nor three older sisters have anything to do with acting, Jonathan Bailey’s interest was sparked as a child after watching a production of Oliver! in the local village hall. He’s gone on to have a hugely successful career in theatre with roles in David Hare's South Downs, the musical version of American Psycho alongside Matt Smith, and in King Lear at the Chichester Festival Theatre opposite Sir Ian McKellen.
5. He felt 'starstruck' while starring in BBC comedy W1A
Jonathan played Jack Patterson for three series BBC comedy W1A about the inner workings of the BBC. Speaking in 2017 he says he was in awe of all the famous faces cropping up during filming as well as starring with regulars in the series such as Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Hynes and Monica Dolan. "I was starstruck all the time," he says. "There were so many brilliant actors at the top of their game."
6. If Jonathan wasn’t an actor he’d love to be a primary school teacher
"I think all teachers are basically modern-day heroes," Jonathan says. "And I love going to see my niece in her nativities at school. I always think they're just so sweet and lovely. Watching the next generation of Baileys grow up, you just realise how informative those years are and I think being a part of that is pretty special."
7. He auditioned for the part of Anthony Bridgerton in 2018, while appearing in stage musical Company in London's West End
"I got offered the Bridgerton job on my 31st birthday, 25 April 2019," Jonathan recalls. He's now a worldwide star!
8. Jonathan did ballet until he was 12
Jonathan says: "I remember having Velcro trainers and just squeaking in at the back and trying to do some pliés. I stopped dancing aged 12 because of the inevitable narrative, peer pressure."
9. His first crush was Anita in the 1990s show Heartbreak High, played by Lara Cox
"It could possibly be niche to some people, but the soundtrack to Heartbreak High is sort of etched in my mind. Yeah, she was everything to me. And if not Anita then Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. Just the whole idea of wanting to be on shore with Prince Eric is pretty dreamy!’
10. The most romantic thing anyone’s done for Jonathan is run him a bath!
Jonathan says: "I think somebody just sitting while you have your bath and having a chat is pretty mega. Put the toilet seat down and just be there while you bathe. It’s really sweet and brilliant and, you know, you’re naked. I think that’s really romantic!"
11. His first job was stirring vats of lemon curd
"I worked on the lemon curd line at the local honey factory, every summer and Christmas holidays at school," Jonathan says. "There’s something about having to open up a piping hot vat of lemon curd to check the temperature at 5am that really spurs you on and makes you think about doing something more creative. It was groundbreaking in that it made me realise that I never want to see or have lemon curd ever again!"
12. Jonathan thinks his Broadchurch character Olly Stevens is a 'dick'
In hit ITV crime drama Broadchurch (2013 to 2015) Jonathan played reporter Olly Stevens who worked on the Broadchurch Echo. He was the nephew of detective Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman). But Jonathan didn't particularly like Olly as a character, describing him as a "a bit of a dick!"
"He represents a generation where everything is immediate, whereas his boss is from the old school of journalism," he told Metro. "It's funny because the actress who plays her, Carolyn Pickles, can do shorthand in real life, like you. It shows the real separation between the generations."
13. Jonathan stars in a racy West End stage play with Taron Egerton
In early 2022, Jonathan stars alongside Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Kingsman, Eddie The Eagle) in a play called Cock. It follows a gay couple whose relationship suffers when one man questions his sexuality as he meets the girl of his dreams. Jade Anouka and former EastEnders star Phil Daniels also star in Cock at London's Ambassador's Theatre.
Jonathan plays John who identifies as gay but meets a woman he is attracted to. Taron plays Jonathan's boyfriend, M. Jonathan admitted that his nan, who looks at everything he's planning to do, was most supportive. "She said it was provocative and hilarious. So we're good to go!"
14. He's joined the cast of muscial movie Wicked
Jonathan will be a major cast member of the long-awaited musical adaptation Wicked, based on the successful Broadway and West End theater show. He's set to play Fiyero in the two-part Wicked movie adaptation so will be starring alongside the likes of Cynthia Arivo and Ariana Grande. The two-part movie series Wicked is slated to arrive in 2024.
Director Jon M Chu has confirmed that Jonathan us taking on the role viaTwitter: "He's perfect, they're perfect. They'd be perfect together. Born to be forever….. I am too excited to pretend this hasn't been happening. We have a Fiyero!"
Jonathan Bailey's Fact File
When was Jonathan Bailey born? Jonathan was born on 25 April 1988.
Is Jonathan Bailey married? No
Does Jonathan Bailey have children? No
Is Jonathan Bailey single? He's not talked about whether he's dating currently or not.
How tall is Jonathan Bailey? He is 5ft 11in (180.3 cm)
We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the most recent article update.
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.