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Entertainment & Arts

‘Doctor Who’ spinoff ‘Class’ will have an LGBT lead character

‘Class’
Vivian Oparah, from left, Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins, Fady Elsayed and Katherine Kelly of BBC America’s “Class.”
(Ray Burmiston / BBC)

The next “Doctor Who” spinoff series will showcase diversity front-and-center. Recognizing that on-screen LGBT representation is a “big deal,” “Class” creator and writer Patrick Ness revealed that the “Doctor Who” spinoff will feature a gay lead character. 

In the wake of the Florida tragedy that left 49 victims dead and at least 53 injured after a shooter opened fire in a gay club in Orlando, Ness took to twitter to express his sorrow over the attack. 

While sharing his sadness, Ness decided to share something positive: “Class” will have “a lead character with a boyfriend who he kisses and sleeps with and loves,” Ness wrote. Originally meant to be kept a secret, Ness decided to share the news with fans because, “today that secret doesn’t seem very important.” 

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After the casting news hit local entertainment outlets Ness confessed he was surprised at the attention, because the sexuality of a character shouldn’t be a “big deal.” “One way to change the world is to act as if it’s already changed. That’s how I roll, that’s how Class rolls...” but he shortly countered, “(Except of course it is a big deal, I know; 15-year-old me never got to see himself; that won’t happen again, not on my watch).”

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Set to debut on BBC America in the fall, “Class” will focus on four students at Coal Hill School (played by Vivian Oparah, Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins and Fady Elsayed) who have to navigate through expected teenage issues involving friends, parents, schoolwork, sex and sorrow along with the possibility of the end of existence. Their teacher will be played by Katherine Kelly. 

LGBT representation is not new in the “Doctor Who” universe – in addition to the marriage between Madame Vastra and Jenny, the spinoff “Torchwood” featured the relationship between Capt. Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones. However, as Ness himself noted, having a gay, school-aged lead character is still significant. 

And while many details about “Class” remain unknown – including the characters’ names or whether it is Elsayed or Austin’s character that will have a boyfriend – Ness did reassure fans that “Class” will be rife with stories of “aliens and terror and emotions and stuff” with enough heartache for everyone. 

tracy.brown@latimes.com

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Twitter: @tracycbrown


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