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The Doctor Who spinoff has been coming together for a while. If you’ve been keeping tabs on the soon-to-be series, you might already know the spinoff will be called Class and will feature classmates learning at Coal Hill School (which has formerly been mentioned in the Who universe) who have to deal with everyday stresses alongside problems created by the Doctor and his time traveling. The new series is just starting filming, and this week the BBC and BBC America announced that Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah and Katherine Kelly have all joined Class. Here’s what we know.
Katherine Kelly is signed on to Class as a brand new teacher at the Coal Hill School. We don’t know a ton about her character, but the actress is a veteran in the acting business, and has appeared in a slew of TV shows. She’s probably most famous for a longtime gig on Coronation Street, but more recently she’s also appeared in Mr. Selfridge, Happy Valley and The Night Manager.
Greg Austin is signed on as a sixth former. His character will reportedly be named Charlie. The actor is not exactly a newcomer on the scene, as he has also appeared in Mr. Selfridge for the past few seasons. Class will be his next big role.
The production team recognizes that a lot of members of Class are newcomers—or close to newcomers on the acting scene. For instance, Fady Elsayed is a British-Egyptian actor who has been taking gigs for a few years but has mostly signed on for short guest stints on TV series. In the US, he was in one episode of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. He’s also appeared in Law & Order: UK and Silent Witness. Obviously, playing a sixth former in Class will be a much bigger break. Vivian Oparah is also a newcomer.
Sophie Hopkins will be another Coal Hill School attendee. In real life, the actress has appeared in films like Whiplash Dreams, along with a slew of short films, so there’s a good chance you haven’t caught anything she’s appeared in as of yet.
Obviously, Class is taking a chance on a mostly unknown cast, but the series has some big names involved, including but not limited to writer and executive producer Patrick Ness, director Ed Bazalgette, producer Derek Ritchie, and executive producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin. Doctor Who’s Nigel Betts is also expected to appear as Mr. Armitage, and we may very well get a special guest star in the Doctor himself.
Obviously, only time will tell if this spinoff will be something that lasts on the BBC and BBC America, but Class does seem different from Doctor Who in some key ways. Obviously, the focus is on younger characters. Because of this, the series is described as darker and edgier than Who. The latest press release even compares Class to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was very edgy in its day. We’ll let you know as soon as this one gets a release date.