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Phoebe Dynevor: The World’s Favorite Duchess

Are they in love in real life? That’s all anyone wants to know if they’ve seen the Regency romp Bridgerton and the sizzling scenes between Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne and Regé-Jean Page as the rakish Duke of Hastings. ‘I’d love to say there was really something between us,’ Phoebe smiles in a way that suggests she means it. ‘But no, it has always been strictly professional. There was so much pressure on us to get it right that it was all about the work. We have a really professional working relationship. I’m glad for that, actually. It would be very complicated if it went further.’

On-set romances are fine while everything is good, but hellish if you fall out. ‘I always hear about people falling in love with their co-stars. It’s yet to happen to me, but I’m intrigued.’ I’m grateful for the honesty of her answer, because there’s been a huge amount of interest in this beautiful young pair. Rumours suggest there is more to their chemistry than acting, but each has been enigmatic about this until now. ‘People really root for us. We have to say we’re actors, we’re doing a job, there is something to be said for not spoiling the magic… but at a certain point you have to say “no”.’

So that’s put things straight. Phoebe is bright, charming and disarmingly direct, but as we talk I can’t help feeling she’s only vaguely aware of what a massive star she has suddenly become.

Bridgerton has hit the number-one spot in 83 countries – including the US, India and Brazil – since it went up on Netflix in December. In fact, it is the biggest series the streaming service has ever had, with 82 million households around the world tuning into the show in its first 28 days online.

‘Nothing has changed in my life,’ says the 25-year-old actor who moved back to stay with her mum and dad in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, at the start of the recent lockdown. ‘I’m still at home arguing with my brother about the washing-up and doing jigsaw puzzles with my dad. It’s very surreal, because I know something’s going on but I can’t really see it.’

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