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Suitors and ties: Victor Alli on becoming Bridgerton’s newest star

Bridgerton’s newest beau Victor Alli on joining the hit Netflix adaptation as the third season begins

By Sydney Bolen

In Victor Alli, Netflix’s Bridgerton finally finds its John Stirling, a long-anticipated character from the book series by Julia Quinn. Although the rest of Bridgerton’s third season focuses on the events covered in the third novel, Romancing Mr Bridgerton, and introduces us to the wider world of the titular family, Stirling comes from the sixth instalment, When He Was Wicked. “It was really nerve-wracking,” Alli tells Rolling Stone UK, as he discusses joining the show as the love interest of Francesca (played by Hannah Dodd). He also touches on acting without dialogue and the enduring importance of grand gestures.  

Welcome to Bridgerton! What was it like to join the cast of such an internationally beloved show? 

Everyone’s so sweet, so kind and so welcoming. It was really nerve-wracking coming in as a new character because I wanted to live up to the standard of the show. But after I met Hannah at the chemistry read and the cast later on, they alleviated some of my stress and fears. 

Did it help that Hannah is also new to her role this season? 

We kept saying that we felt like the new kids who had to prove ourselves, which is a weird feeling. It was nice to have someone to share it with.  

You are playing a much-anticipated character, at least for those who have read the books. However, there isn’t a lot of John on the page. What are his defining characteristics for you? 

In public, he seems shy, but in private, he has a strong sense of self and isn’t afraid to go against the customs and traditions of the ton [the 1800s term for high-society London]. In episode four, he just knocks on the Bridgertons’ door without being announced. He is really thoughtful as well. He’s always thinking about a lot of different things at once. I find him quite charming in a self-deprecating way. I don’t think he takes himself too seriously. In part two, he really comes out of his shell as he gets to know the family. It was really fun to play. My favourite scene is in the second half of the season. 

John and Francesca have a very instant and natural kind of love, but it’s also very quiet. As an actor, is it harder to play a character if they don’t have much dialogue?  

At RADA, one of the things that really resonated with me is that despite what people think, acting is more about what you don’t say than what you do. There’s something quite special about communicating with someone with no words. It was nice doing the quieter scenes and having those moments of silence. It didn’t feel awkward at all, you know, even though the script said, “There’s a long, awkward pause that’s not natural for TV.” It may come across that way on screen, but I never felt it because I had an internal monologue going through my head. Every single time we’d do a take, I would change that monologue. It gave me an opportunity to say what I wanted in those times and think about what John would say or what he might be thinking. It was quite nice not saying anything, but also communicating so much. I loved it. 

Finally, John is a big believer in a grand gesture. Where do you stand on that concept? 

I like a grand gesture. They can convey a variety of different emotions. In my own life, I’ve done a few grand gestures, and they’ve always been received quite well. Everyone should make a grand gesture for someone they love at least once in their life.