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Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma will lead the second season of Bridgerton Image Credit: Netflix

Step aside Daphne Bridgerton, there’s a new lady in town. Simone Ashley has been cast as the lead in season 2 of the hit Netflix show ‘Bridgerton’, and will play Kate Sharma in the romantic period drama.

Kate’s character will romance actor Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony Bridgerton, with the new season focusing on the heir of the Bridgerton family and his quest to find a suitable bride.

Ashley, who plays the snooty Olivia Hanan on the Netflix show ‘Sex Education’, will find herself as the new arrival to shake up the Ton in London. Her official character description reads: “Newly arrived in London, Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included.”

Based on the novels by author Julia Quinn’s romance series, the second season of the show is scheduled to go into production in Spring in London. The new season will be based on Quinn’s second novel in the series, ‘The Viscount Who Loved Me’, which follows Anthony Bridgerton on a quest to find his Viscountess.

Interestingly, the producers of the web series have taken some creative liberties with the adaptation, namely changing Kate’s ethnicity so her family would be of Indian descent.

This isn’t the first time the show has broken down the race barrier with creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen and executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers casting several Black characters in season one of the show, including the lead Duke of Hastings, which is played by breakout star Rege-Jean Page. The Duke’s on-screen aunt, Lady Danbury, is also played by Adjoa Andoh, while Queen Charlotte is played by Golda Rosheuvel.

In January, Netflix announced that the period drama had become the most-watched original series on the platform with around 82 million households viewing the show in just 28 days since its Christmas Day release. The first season featured actors Phoebe Dynevor and Page in the lead roles.

Each season of the show will feature the story of another Bridgerton sibling and their quest for love, with central characters including Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson and Julie Andrews as the voice of gossip columnist Lady Whistledown.