Who Is Hannah Dodd? Meet Bridgerton’s New Francesca

By Ellie Smith

1 month ago

Here's why Francesca Bridgerton looks different this series

Bridgerton fans who spent the weekend devouring the new series may have been confused by a new face in the titular family. That’s because the actress playing Francesca Bridgerton has changed. For the first two seasons, she was played by Ruby Stokes, however in season three, Hannah Dodd has taken over the baton. So what do we know about the show’s new star?

Hannah Dodd Is Bridgerton‘s Newest Star

Who Is Francesca Bridgerton?

Francesca Bridgerton is the sixth sibling in the family. We were first introduced to her early on in the show, awaiting her older sister Daphne’s debut. However, Francesca then left to live with their Aunt Winnie in Bath, where she remained for most of the first season. When she returns, we see snippets of her playing the pianoforte, a skill she learnt during her time away. 

Season three is where Francesca has her first big plotline. It opens with Francesca preparing to make her debut into society – and unexpectedly emerging as the ‘diamond’ of the season.

Bridgerton is based on the romantic novels by Julia Quinn, and in these Francesca doesn’t become the protagonist until the sixth book, When He Was Wicked – hence why she is emerging as a notable character now.

Bridgerton family

Why Did Ruby Stokes Leave Bridgerton?

After two seasons, Ruby Stokes decided to leave Bridgerton to star in another Netflix show, Lockwood and Co. Discussing her exit, Ruby told Whattowatch: ‘I just felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down! Working on Bridgerton was wonderful and it was incredible to be part of a show like that. Leaving was always going to be a difficult choice, but something about Lucy [Lockwood & Co] spoke to me. It was a chance to explore a very different character and I’ve learned a great deal playing a young adult at the helm of a show.’

Who Is Hannah Dodd?

Colchester-born, 29-year-old Hannah Dodd trained at London Studio Centre in Theatre Dance in 2017, going on to land her debut role in Hulu series Find Me in Paris. She later played the younger version of Sienna Miller in another Netflix series, Anatomy of a Scandal, before landing her big breakout role as Francesca in Bridgerton.

Alongside her acting career, she is also a model, but she has said her ultimate goal is to combine her love of dancing with her acting. She told Italian Reve: ‘I trained as a dancer originally and was sort of heading into the musical theater; I love films, and one day being able to do musical theatre on film, maybe, would be an absolute dream.’

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton

(c) Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

What Has Hannah Dodd Said About Bridgerton?

Unsurprisingly, Dodd was thrilled to join the Bridgerton cast. ‘It was all kept quite secret, so I had no idea that it was actually Bridgerton that I was going in for until the day of my meeting with the Shondaland team,’ she told Fabric.

‘They let me know just before, which was kind of terrifying, but also good, because it meant that I just had to kind of go in, and be present, and respond to what they were asking for. I’ve never not known what I was going in for before – I think it’s just because this is such a big show, lots of secrecy around storylines and stuff like that. I love prep, I love to really go into that room and feel like I know the character, and that I’ve done everything I can do, so it was definitely a different way of working for me.’

Dodd has also spoken about the similarities between her own personal life and the experiences of her character. ‘Francesca has been preparing for [her debut]. Filming it was absolutely terrifying, because it was quite early on in production,’ she told Tudum. ‘There was a little bit of life imitating art there. She was nervous and I was nervous. She was watching people, and I was watching people to learn. We were kind of going through it together.’