Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan has said she struggled not to spoil the plot twist in popular Netflix period drama.

The Galway actress has received rave reviews for her role as Penelope Featherington, a character who is later revealed to be mysterious gossip writer Lady Whistledown, narrated by Julie Andrews in the series.

The reveal scene was nominated for the Must-See Moment at this year's Bafta TV awards.

The 34-year-old told the Radio Times: "I couldn’t keep it in that Julie Andrews and I were playing the same role!

Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie in Bridgerton

"My friends get really livid with me for spoiling the things I’m in – I’m like, 'Do you really want to know?’

"I let them try to take the responsibility into their own hands."

The actress said it was "refreshing" that the characters in the show produced by Shonda Rhimes "felt like 3D humans going through their issues".

She added: "Getting that script, it felt fresh and not like some period dramas, which can sound dusty and a bit like museum pieces."

The first series of the show, which explores the competitive world of Regency London and is known for its raunchy sex scenes, was released on December 25.

Derry Girls: Nicola Coughlan second from the left

Coughlan confessed she had worried everyone would hate the show and it would ruin Christmas Day. But Bridgerton went on to be viewed globally by 82 million households in 28 days and Netflix named the drama its biggest original series to date.

The show has been rebooted for season two and will move away from the romance between the Duke of Hastings, played by Rege-Jean Page, and Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne Bridgerton, towards Daphne’s brother Anthony Bridgerton, who is portrayed by Jonathan Bailey.

Coughlan was previously best known for her role in the Channel 4 sitcom Derry Girls where she plays Clare Devlin.

The sitcom, created by Lisa McGee, has also been renewed for a third season and Coughlan has said: "I’m so excited to get back to it!"