'Bridgerton' Casts Female Lead for Season 2

Netflix's Bridgerton has found a lead actress for its second season.

The series has cast Simone Ashley (Sex Education) as Kate Sharma, the love interest for Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey). Season two of the Shondaland drama — which Netflix has said its its biggest original series ever — will be based on the second book in Julia Quinn's series of novels, The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Ashley's Kate is a new arrival in London. She's smart and headstrong and doesn't suffer fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included. The series is continuing its reimagining of the novels' world in season two — in the books, the character is named Kate Sheffield — and the multiracial casting that was a hallmark of the first season.

Quinn's series focuses on a different couple in each book, and the series, created by Chris Van Dusen and executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, will follow that lead. Van Dusen told The Hollywood Reporter that he "would love to be able to see" season one's leads, Phoebe Dyvenor and Regé-Jean Page, again as the series moves forward, even if they're not the main drivers of the story.

In addition to Netflix's Sex Education, Ashley's credits include limited series The Sister (which streams on Hulu in the United States) and the third season of Broadchurch. She's repped by Gersh, Identity Agency Group in the U.K. and attorney Derek Kroeger of Myman Greenspan.

first reported the news.