Jonathan Bailey: 11 Roles You'd Forgotten He Played Before Bridgerton

In the past he's shared the screen with Olivia Colman, Michaela Coel and Phoebe Waller-Bridge before the Netflix period drama came calling.
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Jonathan Bailey in the second season of Bridgerton
Jonathan Bailey in the second season of Bridgerton
LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

After capturing our attention (and, let’s be honest, hearts) during the first season of Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey is about to blow up big time as he takes the lead in the hit Netflix show’s second season.

It’s safe to say that the British star is having a real moment right now. Not only is he taking a central role in Bridgerton’s second season, but you can catch him in action on stage in the West End in a revival of Cock, having previously won an Olivier for his performance in Company just a few years ago.

But don’t go thinking Jonathan is some kind of “overnight sensation”. The acclaimed actor has been putting in hard graft for years now, popping up in all kinds of shows you might not have realised.

Here are just a handful of roles he played before Bridgerton came calling…

Baddiel’s Syndrome (2001)

Sky

Jonathan made his start as a child actor, playing David Baddiel’s on-screen son Josh in the short-lived Sky sitcom Baddiel’s Syndrome.

Definitely one to be filed under the “has not aged well” category, an ongoing plotline saw the central character “worrying” that his son is gay based on his “interests” and the fact he’s “delicate” and “sensitive for his age”.

Five Children And It (2004)

Sandfairy/Capitol/Jim Henson Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

After roles in the TV movies Alice Through The Looking Glass and Bright Hair, Jonathan crossed over to the big screen in 2004, when he was still in his teens.

He shared the screen with Kenneth Branagh, Zoe Wannamaker and fellow child star Freddie Highmore in the family film Five Children And It, playing Cyril.

Doctors (2007)

BBC

Like pretty much every other future A-list actor in Britain, Jonathan made an appearance in the daytime soap Doctors. In his episode, he played a teenager with a heart condition who was feeling smothered by his overprotective mum.

And if you want more thing to cross off your “obligatory British TV shows” bingo card, he followed this up a year later with a short stint in The Bill.

Leonardo (2011)

BBC

One of Jonathan’s first leading roles was in the CBBC series Leonardo. As the title suggests, he played a teenage Leonardo DaVinci growing up in 15th-century Florence.

The show ended in 2012 after two seasons.

Me And Mrs Jones (2012)

Around this time he appeared in the BBC comedy Me And Mrs Jones playing the son of Gemma Jones and Neil Morrissey’s characters.

Check out the above clip to watch him and The Umbrella Academy’s Robert Sheehan trying to chat up a pre-fame Emily Atack.

Broadchurch (2013)

ITV

If you’ve been wondering for a while where you recognise Jonathan Bailey from but you’ve never quite been able to put your finger on it, there’s every chance it’s from Broadchurch.

Like fellow cast members Jodie Whittaker and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, he was part of the the ITV police drama just before making it big. He played Olivia Colman’s nephew, the ambitious reporter Olly Stevens, in the first two series of Broadchurch.

W1A (2013)

BBC

Jonathan has appeared in all three series of this cult BBC comedy, which takes the form of a mockumentary set at Broadcasting House.

His character was initially a supporting role, but was bumped up to the main cast for the most recent two seasons.

Doctor Who (2014)

BBC

That’s right, Jonathan Bailey was actually in an episode of Doctor Who, too.

He portrayed “augmented” human Psi during the eighth series, sharing the screen with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman.

Crashing (2016)

Channel 4

Just a few short months before Fleabag took the world by storm, Phoebe Waller-Bridge starred as Lulu in the Channel 4 sitcom Crashing, which she also co-wrote.

The show centred around a group of people living together as “property guardians” in a disused London hospital, with Jonathan playing Lulu’s sexually-charged friend Sam.

Chewing Gum (2017)

When Chewing Gum returned for its second season in 2017, Jonathan joined the cast as the seemingly-suave Ash, a new love interest for Tracey, played by Michaela Coel, who also created and wrote the show.

However, Ash eventually gets his comeuppance when Tracey discovers that not only is he married with children, he’s going out with her to fulfil a fetish.

Final Fantasy XIV (2019)

And finally, it’s not just appearances in film and TV that Jonathan can boast.

In 2019, he voiced G’raha Tia in the Final Fantasy expansion pack Shadowbringers, and even reprised the role for the 2021 follow-up Endwalker.

Later this year, you’ll also hear him among the all-star cast of the new video game Squadron 42.

Bridgerton’s second season will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday 25 March.

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