Monday, 4 April 2016

Cast Announced For Doctor Who Spin-off 'Class'

The lead actors of new Doctor Who spin-off Class have finally been announced! Let's have a look at them...

The series, which will air on the now-online channel BBC Three, is orientated at a Young Adult audience. Fittingly then, writing all episodes of the eight-part series is successful YA novelist Patrick Ness. Though the series is set at the recurring Doctor Who location of Coal Hill School, it will be the only Who spin-off without any of the lead characters having previously appeared on the parent show. So who are these new kids on the block?

From left to right, you've got upcoming young actors Vivian Oparah, Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins, Fady Elsayed and Katherine Kelly, a familiar face to British telly viewers. We don't know much about their characters, although it has been confirmed that Kelly will play a teacher who is described in the press release as a "powerful new presence" at Coal Hill. Is she taking Clara's old job, now that she's dead/flying around the universe?

The synopsis for the show is as follows: 
"Time has looked at your faces now. And time never forgets..." 
What if your planet was massacred and you were the sole survivor?
What if a legendary figure out of space and time found you a place to hide?
But what if the things that want to kill you have tracked you down?
And worst of all, what if you haven't studied for your A-Levels...?
Doctor Who and Class exec producer Steven Moffat said:
"Coal Hill School has been part of Doctor Who since the very first shoot in 1963, but this new show is anything but history. Class is dark and sexy and right now. I've always wondered if there could be a British Buffy - it's taken the brilliant Patrick Ness to figure out how to make it happen."

So what can we deduce about the plot of the show? Well, going by the synopsis we can assume that the series will follow an alien as they adjust to normal life as an Earthling teenager. As she is in the centre of both of the group photos, it can be presumed that Sophie Hopkins' character is this alien and the others are her band of loyal friends. Maybe Kelly will be in the mentoring adult/Giles-type role?

Speaking of which, Moffat's comment about the series being a British Buffy is also an interesting one. Doctor Who itself is influenced by Joss Whedon's seminal drama in its series structure, but Class does look to be borrowing from Buffy's 'sci-fi fantasy messing with high school' premise. If the show can in any way match Buffy's out-of-the-box thinking and depth of character, we will be in for a treat. 

I have to say I was sceptical about this series when it was announced, as it seemed an odd choice for a spin-off - what with all the other more obvious ones out there. However, I am getting more into the idea as I hear more about it. Ness is a very talented writer (I heartily recommend his Chaos Walking series) and Doctor Who has always been fab at casting its leads so I'm sure that has continued here. 

Class is due to surface this September, so there's a while to wait before we get to see how it turns out. In the mean time, here are some more shots of the cast to goggle at. 

There is just one question left: will the Doctor turn up to check in on the Whoniverse's newest students?

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