The Bridgerton stars who got their start on CBBC! Fans go wild after realising Adjoa Andoh, Jonathan Bailey and Claudia Jessie all owe their careers to children's TV shows

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:10 min(s) read
Movie channels                     Music channels                     Sport channels

  • First episodes of Bridgerton season three landed on Netflix last week
  • Read More: Rafe Spall reveals the reason he refuses to film any more sex scenes after appearing more than 18 

They may be starring in one of the biggest shows in the world right now – but these actors have CBBC to thank for giving them their big break.

Adjoa Andoh, 61, is now a household name thanks to her role as Lady Danbury in Bridgerton. 

But back in the mid-noughties, the actress, from Bristol, was more recognisable as the head of MI9 in the spy comedy MI High.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Bailey catapulted to stardom when he was cast at Viscount Bridgerton in the hit Netflix series, which is streaming platform’s number one show. 

However, the 36-year-old won his first millennial fans when he played Leonardo da Vinci in a series about the painter’s life.

Pictured: Ruby Stokes, Phoebe Dynevor, Will Tilston, Florence Hunt, Ruth Gemmell, Luke Thompson, Jonathan Bailey in season one of Bridgerton

Pictured: Ruby Stokes, Phoebe Dynevor, Will Tilston, Florence Hunt, Ruth Gemmell, Luke Thompson, Jonathan Bailey in season one of Bridgerton

On top of this, Claudia Jessie – who plays Eloise Bridgerton – is another CBBC alumnae who has gone on to achieve worldwide fame.

The actress’ first major role was playing a teenage detective in the online series ‘Dixie’ about staying safe on social media.

Earlier this week, TikTok star Jam, from the UK, sent fans wild when she shared the Bridgerton stars’ CBBC background with her 120,000 followers.

One replied: ‘OMG LADY DANBURY IS FROM MI HIGH!!’ 

Another gushed: ‘I used to love Leonardo!!’ Meanwhile, a third gushed: ‘Dixi was my life!’

Here FEMAIL revisits the Bridgerton stars’ humble CBBC beginnings. 

Adjoa Andoh 

Adjoa Andoh is one of the main breakout stars from Bridgerton – having gone on to bag roles in The Witcher, Queen Charlotte and the Red King.

Pictured: Adjoa Andoh playing Lady Danbury in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, which debuted in 2020

Pictured: Adjoa Andoh playing Lady Danbury in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, which debuted in 2020

Pictured: Actress Adjoa Andoh appeared in six episodes of the CBBC spy comedy MI High in the noughties

Pictured: Actress Adjoa Andoh appeared in six episodes of the CBBC spy comedy MI High in the noughties

However, the star spent years making a name for herself in TV and radio.

As well as appearing in Law & Order UK, she also appeared in Casualty and The Bill.

From 2009 to 2011, Adjoa played the head of MI9 in the kids spy drama MI High – making six appearances in total.

Alongside this, the star also played two different roles in Doctor Who while David Tennant was playing the lead role.

Firstly, Adjoa played Francine Jones – the mother of the Doctor’s sidekick Martha. 

Pictured: Adjoa Andoh played Martha Jones' mother in Doctor Who while David Tennant was starring

Pictured: Adjoa Andoh played Martha Jones’ mother in Doctor Who while David Tennant was starring

Pictured: Adjoa Andoh playing Sister Jatt - the alien nurse with a cat's face - in the CBBC show in 2008

Pictured: Adjoa Andoh playing Sister Jatt – the alien nurse with a cat’s face – in the CBBC show in 2008

In 2008, she returned as Sister Jatt – the alien nurse with a cat’s face.

During lockdown, Adjoa filmed a special message for Doctor Who fans where she spoke about her love of the show.

While filming Invictus, the actress was introduced to the assistant director – who gushed about ‘thrilled’ he was to meet her.

She claims he said: ‘You’re Martha Jones’ mom!’

The actress continued: ‘Of course, the reach of this show is all over the world and I think one of the things that is so brilliant is it talks about people coming together to take care of each other.

‘When people are under threat, they come together and that’s exactly what we’re all having to do now.’ 

Jonathan Bailey 

Pictured: Jonathan Bailey playing teenage Leonardo di Vinci in the CBBC show about the painter's life

Pictured: Jonathan Bailey playing teenage Leonardo di Vinci in the CBBC show about the painter’s life

Pictured: Jonathan Bailey playing Viscount Bridgerton in season two of the hit Netflix show Bridgerton

Pictured: Jonathan Bailey playing Viscount Bridgerton in season two of the hit Netflix show Bridgerton

When he was 23 years old, Jonathan Bailey bagged the lead role in the CBBC show Leonardo.

The series – which ran for two seasons – imagined the 15t Century painter Leonardo di Vinci’s life aged 15 and living in Florence. 

The star began acting at 10 and appeared in the three plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Before he was cast in the show, Jonathan also stared an Open University course – but ultimately decided to focus on acting.

Speaking to the Official London Theatre in 2012, Jonathan said it was ‘sort of an accident’ that he ever got into theatre.

He said: ‘It was sort of an accident. I went to a dance club in Henley. When you joined, you automatically got represented. I didn’t really know what was going on, but they asked me to go for an audition aged six to sing a song for a lady from the RSC. I went along and it seemed like four weeks later we’d started performing A Christmas Carol.

The CBBC series - which ran for two seasons - imagined the 15t Century painter Leonardo di Vinci's life aged 15 and living in Florence

The CBBC series – which ran for two seasons – imagined the 15t Century painter Leonardo di Vinci’s life aged 15 and living in Florence

‘It became a hobby and the rule was as long as I did school and acting that fits within the summer or Christmas holidays, I could do it. So I started doing one thing a year.’

Jonathan joked to the BBC: ‘When I found out I had got the part of Leonardo da Vinci I ordered a painting-by-numbers edition of the Mona Lisa but when it arrived it was tiny, three inches by three inches, with only three colours to fill about 10 different blocks! 

‘Needless to say I completed it in record time and the famous “enigmatic smile” had become a fluorescent pink blob amidst a background of black and brown triangles… Leonardo would be turning in his grave!’

Claudia Jessie

Pictured: Bridgerton actress Claudia Jessie playing Shari in the CBBC online safety series called Dixi

Pictured: Bridgerton actress Claudia Jessie playing Shari in the CBBC online safety series called Dixi

The actress, from Birmingham, was cast as Eloise Bridgerton in the hit Netflix series back in 2020

The actress, from Birmingham, was cast as Eloise Bridgerton in the hit Netflix series back in 2020

Eloise Bridgerton famously doesn’t suffer fools – something she has in common with Claudia Jessie’s CBBC character.

In 2014, Claudia was cast as Shari in the online mystery Dixi, which taught children about online safety.

The mystery show followed a group of teens as they tried to figure out who was framing innocent people on social media.

Before this, the actress had appeared in Call the Midwife, Josh and Casualty. 

Dixi ran for a total of five series (amounting to 100 episodes) and was Claudia’s first major role.

It also paved the way for more high-profile roles, including Amelia Sedley in the 2018 adaptation of Vanity Fair.

The mystery show followed a group of teens as they tried to figure out who was framing innocent people on social media

The mystery show followed a group of teens as they tried to figure out who was framing innocent people on social media

Despite playing a schoolgirl in Dixi, Claudia was homeschooled from the age of 14 because she struggled so much with bullying.

 Speaking to The Guardian last month, she explained: ‘I didn’t develop any self-confidence.

‘No matter how much my mum tried to instill it in me. But I knew from an early age I had the ability to make people laugh. Mum cleaned houses in exchange for my music lessons or dance classes – my only early performing experience was in the living room, doing Bruce Forsyth impressions.’

Sam Phillips

Hotel Trubble followed the day-to-day running of a English hotel and its quirky employees, including the bellboy Jamie (pictured)

Hotel Trubble followed the day-to-day running of a English hotel and its quirky employees, including the bellboy Jamie (pictured)

Pictured: Sam Phillips playing Lord Debling Bridgerton, the new love interest of Lady Penelope Featherington

Pictured: Sam Phillips playing Lord Debling Bridgerton, the new love interest of Lady Penelope Featherington

He’s one of the new faces to join Bridgerton in season three – but Sam Phillips already has a devoted fanbase from his CBBC days.

The actor, 39, who has been cast as Lord Debling, played Jamie in the CBBC series Hotel Trubble from 2008 to 2011.

The sitcom followed the day-to-day running of a English hotel and its quirky employees, including the bellboy Jamie. 

Following the show’s end, the actor then went to appear in Far from the Madding Crowd, The Crown and EastEnders.

Earlier today, the MailOnline revealed that Sam is dating his Bridgerton co-star Bessie Carter.

Despite their characters not interacting on the show, the actors began dating after meeting on set of season three. 

Filming for the series began in July 2022 and wrapped in March 2023, with Bessie moving into Sam’s flat in Brighton three months later. 

Bridgerton's Bessie Carter and Sam Phillips ARE dating and have secretly moved in together after romantic holidays

Bridgerton’s Bessie Carter and Sam Phillips ARE dating and have secretly moved in together after romantic holidays 

Bessie, 30, plays the role of Prudence Featherington on the hit Netflix show.

The pair have been photographed at several events with her family, including alongside Bessie’s famous mum Imelda Staunton and dad Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter.

The furthest back they have been pictured was in May 2023 where they looked cosy at a theatre event – suggesting they could have been together a good while.  

Rumours recently began to swirl on TikTok that the pair could be an item, with one content creator posting a recent video titled: ‘Bridgerton co-stars that are dating in real life’. 

Many were quick to comment on the rumours as one said: ‘Okayyyy featherington sisters bagging the hot ones!’

Another said: ‘They’re so cute!!’, while a third penned: ‘I love this so much!’ 

Ruth Gemmell 

Pictured: Ruth Gemmell playing Tracy Beaker's mother in the hit CBBC series based on the 1990 book

Pictured: Ruth Gemmell playing Tracy Beaker’s mother in the hit CBBC series based on the 1990 book

Pictured: Ruth Gemmell playing Lady Violet Bridgerton in the third season of the hit series Bridgerton

Pictured: Ruth Gemmell playing Lady Violet Bridgerton in the third season of the hit series Bridgerton

What’s more, millennial viewers first knew Ruth Gemmell not as Lady Bridgerton – but Tracy Beaker’s mother in the hit noughties series.

The Tracy Beaker film and series are based on the 1990 book by Jacqueline Wilson, based on the tragic story of a troubled 10-year-old in foster care, who has been placed in a home due to a history of neglect and domestic violence.

As a way to escape her behavioural problems, Tracy tells a string of tall tales about her absent mother, insisting that she is a famous Hollywood star who will one day come and collect her to take them to live a fabulous life.

In 2020, fans joked that her appearance in the hit show mean that Tracy was in fact telling the truth all along and would come back to collect her. 

There she is! Bridgerton fans have gone after realising Ruth Gemmell, 53, who plays the matriarch of the Bridgerton family, Violet Bridgerton, also starred as Tracey Beaker's mum Carly in 2004's Tracy Beaker: The Movie of Me (pictured)

There she is! Bridgerton fans have gone after realising Ruth Gemmell, 53, who plays the matriarch of the Bridgerton family, Violet Bridgerton, also starred as Tracey Beaker’s mum Carly in 2004’s Tracy Beaker: The Movie of Me (pictured) 

Can't unsee it! Flooding social media, a number of fans insisted they 'couldn't unsee' Ruth's former role, while others joked that Tracy - a troubled fantasist living in a foster home - wasn't lying when she said her mother was a famous Hollywood star

Can’t unsee it! Flooding social media, a number of fans insisted they ‘couldn’t unsee’ Ruth’s former role, while others joked that Tracy – a troubled fantasist living in a foster home – wasn’t lying when she said her mother was a famous Hollywood star

Tickled fans penned: ‘The fact that Tracy Beaker’s mum is in Bridgerton. She really was a famous actress after all, I knew Tracy wasn’t lying… Can’t unsee that Daphne’s mum in Bridgerton is Tracy Beaker’s mum lol…

‘i adore bridgeton but I can’t stop seeing Daphne’s mum as Tracy beaker’s mum… Anyone else watching #Bridgerton and can’t stop thinking about daphne’s mum being Tracy Beaker’s mum when she #turned up in the movie over a decade ago?…

‘what business does tracy beaker’s mum have being in bridgerton… no way tracy beaker’s mum is in bridgerton…

‘i love that tracy beaker’s mum plays violet bridgerton in bridgerton… I can’t unsee Lady Bridgerton as Tracy Beaker’s mum….

‘I absolutely LOVED #Bridgerton on Netflix but I could not see Lady Violet Bridgerton as anyone but Tracy Beaker’s mum – she really was a famous actress after all Rolling on the floor laughing’.