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After Bridgerton, The Pursuit Of Love unveils another heart-throb to set pulses racing 

You wait years for a handsome duke – and then two come along at once.

As Bridgerton fans dry their tears over the news that Rege-Jean Page will no longer be appearing as the Duke of Hastings, they might be consoled by the advent of a new duke – Fabrice, Duc de Sauveterre.

Played by handsome French actor Assaad Bouab, this duke began romancing Lily James's character Linda Radlett in last night's episode of the BBC's adaptation of The Pursuit Of Love.

Bouab, 40, may be familiar already thanks to his role as a CIA agent in Netflix's Messiah and his starring role in the French drama Call My Agent.

As Bridgerton fans dry their tears over the news that Rege-Jean Page will no longer be appearing as the Duke of Hastings, they might be consoled by the advent of a new duke – Fabrice, Duc de Sauveterre (Assaad Bouab, pictured with Lily James as Linda Radlett)

He is already a heart-throb in France, where he is regularly named as one of the best looking men in the country.

Half-Moroccan, he was raised in Rabat and is married.

As with the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton romancing Daphne Bridgerton, there are some decidedly racy scenes in episode two which may lead to tactical tea-making for some viewers.

The BBC production used an 'intimacy co-ordinator', Elle McAlpine, to choreograph the love scenes. She had previously worked on the BBC's costume drama Gentleman Jack.

Bouab, 40, is already a heart-throb in France, where he is regularly named as one of the best looking men in the country

Bouab said Miss McAlpine made things more simple for him. 'All the questions can be asked. There's no shame. And we ask, "OK, what can we do? How far we can go here etc?" So it makes the thing easy, in a way. It's funny.'

He added: 'It's electric. It's surprising, it's connecting, it's together. I really had great moments with Lily.'

Bouab said he found it 'very challenging' to be included in the BBC drama. He added: 'I was a bit nervous to be part of The Pursuit Of Love with all those great actors and actresses. I was shaking, I was nervous.

Played by handsome French actor Assaad Bouab, this duke began romancing Lily James's character Linda Radlett in last night's episode of the BBC's adaptation of The Pursuit Of Love

'And the challenge for me is like, "OK, let's try to be as much as I can self-confident and to try to be Fabrice." But it was not easy at all.'

He's happy, however, to be thought of as a heart-throb. "What can I say? I would be lying if I say, 'Oh, no!"' he said.

The Duc de Sauveterre is a character which author Nancy Mitford based on her love affair with Gaston Palewski.

A French politician, he was a close associate of General de Gaulle and an Anglophile who attended both Oxford University and the Sorbonne. Mitford dedicated The Pursuit Of Love, written in 1945, to him.

As with the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton romancing Daphne Bridgerton, there are some decidedly racy scenes in episode two which may lead to tactical tea-making for some viewers

He was a notorious womaniser and had an affair with Mitford which started in the 1940s and continued on and off until her death in 1973 – the writer lived in Paris and then Versailles in the post-war years.

During that time he married a French duchess and another woman and had a child out of wedlock.

The character of the duke also appears in her 1949 novel Love In A Cold Climate.

The final episode of The Pursuit Of Love – which is set between the two world wars and follows Miss James's character in search of the ideal husband – airs on BBC1 next Sunday night. The whole series is also available to watch on iPlayer.

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