Simone Ashley has confirmed whether she and Jonathan Bailey will return for the upcoming third season of Bridgerton.

On 29 March, Netflix hosted a dinner in Los Angeles celebrating South Asian culture with trailblazing stars such as Ashley, Kal Penn, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Sujata Day, Lilly Singh, Sophia Ali, and Anurima Bhargava.

Ashley, who joined the second season as Viscount Bridgerton’s love interest Kate Sharma, confirmed to Deadline that both characters – drum roll please! – will indeed return.

“We’re going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started. We have the amazing Jess Brownell who is taking the lead as showrunner in Season 3,” said the star, who is also known for her role as Olivia Hanan in Sex Education.

“In Season 2, there was a lot of push and pull between Kate and Anthony, there were complications with the family, and then they find each other towards the end.”

Ashley added: “I think everything is just starting. I’d like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in Season 3 and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it.”

While her character’s relationship with Anthony Bridgerton was met with praise from viewers, Ashley confirmed that Kate’s future storylines will also see her stand on her own. “She’s in charge of the household now and she’s got big boots to put on. I think she can do it,” she teased.

“I want to keep that softness and vulnerability to Kate, for sure, and she can share that with Anthony. I’m just excited for her to have a home and to have a family.

“I’m excited to see her grow. I think I’d like to see Kate being much braver and less headstrong and more heart strong.”

Created by Chris Van Dusen, the second season of Bridgerton sees Bailey as the new male lead following the departure of Regé-Jean Page, who memorably played the fan-favourite “fuckboy” Duke of Hastings, Simon Bassett.

Season two follows Anthony as he searches for a “suitable” wife, which becomes complicated with the arrival of sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran), who travel from India with their mother to find a husband for Edwina.

The new batch of episodes received highly positive reviews, with widespread acclaim for its representation of the South Asian experience in a historical setting.

“We are representing a minority of women in particular seen on television screens and I think it’s wonderful that more South Asian women can identify themselves within these characters,” Ashley said in a news conference.

Chandran added: “I think what’s really fascinating about the Sharmas is that essentially they’re immigrants. They’re different, not because of their skin colour but because they come from a different background, they have different customs.

“So then they are sort of transplanted into London, and they’re trying to fit in and be as successful as possible within that community.”

Bridgerton season two also stars Adjoa Andoh, Lorraine Ashbourne, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Nicola Coughlan, Phoebe Dynevor, Ruth Gemmell, Florence Hunt, Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Golda Rosheuvel and Luke Thompson.

Deep breath for even more star power: Will Tilston, Polly Walker, Rupert Young, Martins Imhangbe, Calam Lynch and Dame Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown.

Bridgerton is streaming worldwide on Netflix.