Who is Lord Debling, Penelope’s new love interest in Bridgerton season 3?

Colin Bridgerton will have some competition in the new season of the Netflix show

Bridgerton. (L to R) Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Sam Phillips as Lord Debling in episode 303 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Sam Phillips as Lord Debling in Bridgerton. (Netflix)

Bridgerton series three is upon us which means it's finally time to see Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton's romance blossom onscreen, but who, dearest reader, is the man who could get in the way of all that — Lord Alfred Debling?

That's right, the Netflix series won't be making it easy for Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton) to find each other, and that's because another suitor has arrived onto the scene, talk about drama. Despite the potential foil he'll make for the would-be couple, Lord Debling is an interesting character in his own right.

British actor Sam Phillips arrives for Netflix's
Sam Phillips plays Lord Debling in the Netflix show. (Getty Images)

Lord Debling is portrayed by Sam Phillips in Bridgerton, the actor appears throughout the first half of season 3 which premiered on Netflix on Thursday, 16 May.

Read more: Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan will not be watching steamy S3 with her mum

The actor is no stranger to the streamer as he previously appeared in The Crown as Equerry for season 3 and 4, so he will be recognisable to many Netflix viewers. Elsewhere the actor has made his mark on the British TV scene, having appeared in shows like Grantchester, Father Brown and This England.

Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Lord Debling is introduced as a potential love interest for Penelope Featherington, when she decides she wants to find a husband. (Netflix)

Lord Debling is a new character in the Bridgerton world as he does not appear in Julia Quinn's books, and he is introduced into the story after Penelope proclaims her desire to find a husband so that she no longer has to live in her family home.

When Penelope asks Colin to help her find a husband by sharing his wisdom on romance, Lord Debling is the first person that the wallflower feels she is able to speak with comfortably. He, like her, finds the Ton and society life to be lacking, and they connect over the course of a number of conversations.

Lord Debling is a botanist who has a particular passion for plants and agriculture, and he often goes travelling so that he can continue his research on them. This is something that makes him seem boring to some women, but to Penelope it is endearing.

Watch the trailer for Bridgerton season 3:

Showrunner Jess Brownell spoke of bringing Lord Debling into the show, telling Variety: "We’ve watched poor Penelope on the sidelines for two seasons, and I’ve always felt like Penelope is eligible if she would only work on her confidence. It only felt right for her to get some interest from someone, and it’s Debling’s introduction also.

"It also functions as a ticking clock for Colin. I think Colin has already realized his feelings for Penelope before Debling shows up. But once Debling is interested, Colin has to hurry up and make haste."

This, as mentioned, creates a conundrum for Colin, who is starting to realise his feelings for Penelope are more than just friendly. How will he possibly resolve the situation and win over Penelope's affections after wronging her so badly in season 2? You'll have to tune in to find out.

Bridgerton season 3 part 1 is out now on Netflix.