A Fresh, Epic And Real Start To Class


By Mélissa M Azombo

Doctor Who spin-off Class will be delivered to our screens imminently but what can one expect from it?

It is no doubt that spanning a life-time of almost 53 years, Doctor Who is a household name. It has a global fanbase, proven by the success of the Doctor Who World Tour for the promotion of Deep Breath back in 2014, if it hadn’t already been by the success of the worldwide simultcast of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode: The Day Of The Doctor. Whovians (the name for fans of the show) are dedicated to it and what it stands for, so everything Doctor Who related has to be just right, whether a new episode of the main show, a new toy, comic strip or a new spin-off show…

Class, which will be made available to fans and perhaps new viewers everywhere on BBC 3, on Saturday 22nd October 2016 from 10h00 UK time is one of many spin-off shows which have been launched over the years.

In fact, a few weeks before Class had its star-studded London premiere of Episodes 1 & 2 at Rich Mix cinema in London, a screening was also held at Chapter Arts in Cardiff of the first ever episode of other Doctor Who spin-off show, Torchwood. The actual release date of Class will coincide with the official 10-year anniversary of Torchwood.

The spin-off held former Doctor Who showrunner, Russel T Davies as headwriter, while also featuring episodes written by future showrunner Chris Chibnall. The show was last on air with series Miracle Day in 2012, but has since only returned via Big Finish audio books. Despite this, the fanbase remains strong. Just a quick glance on Twitter will tell you that fans want its return.

Other spin-off shows include The Sarah Jane Adventures, which aired on CBBC, as well as BBC One from 2007 to 2011. The 5 series finished after the sad passing of lead actress Elisabeth Sladen on 8th April 2011. The Infinite Quest, K-9 & Company and Totally Doctor Who – the show which enabled John Bell to get an on-screen role in series 3 of Doctor Who – are just a few others. But where is Class placed in this line up?


For one, Class is definitely no Sarah Jane Adventures, as the audiences are not in league wiith eachother. While The Sarah Jane Adventures’ audience was predominantly children, Class focuses more towards a Young Adult (YA) audience. In fact, it can be quite gory. Confirmed by the cast in a Facebook livestream earlier this month, there can be quite a lot of blood. Some have described it as like Torchwood but for a slightly younger audience. What else does the show offer?

Class is created by “A Monster Calls” author, Patrick Ness, featuring a stellar main cast comprising Vivian Oparah (Tanya), Sophie Hopkins (April), Fady Elsayed (Ram), Mr Selfridge’s Greg Austin (Charlie) and Coronation Street’s Katherine Kelly (Miss Quill). It is set at Coal Hill Academy, a sixth form in Shoreditch, tied to a school with history with the show. This, since Coal Hill School featured both, on the first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, in 1963 and in 50th anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor, in 2013.

The main cast have to fight monsters in The Doctor (Peter Capaldi)’s absence. This story telling leaves no time for waiting around. It is fast-paced, with impeccable acting, exquisite direction, high production values and amazing special effects, as well as fantastic music, brilliantly composed by Blair Mowat. In episodes 1 & 2, the audience will learn a lot about the main characters, what brings some of them to Coal Hill and how they come to be the super gang that will fight against monsters. Classmates (The name for fans of Class) will not be disappointed.


Blair Mowat has composed for YouTube Series Doctor Who: The Fan Show, Big Finish audios and now for Doctor Who spin-off Class.

The show also has a great balance of humour, violence and reality. In fact, one of the things viewers will notice about Class, is its true reflection of life, with characters from a range of backgrounds: disabled, LGBT and different races. Show creator Patrick Ness notes “You see yourself on screen,” which many will be able to relate to and allows the show to be and feel like “a true story”. This is how shows should be.

On the note of things being relatable, when asked how people will be able to connect with Class, in the same manner that many deal with main show Doctor Who, Sophie Hopkins says Class “addresses those issues” that one may face in life. Vivian Oparah notes the show includes issues such as “identity and fitting in that anyone [at] any age can relate to.” She added “As black women, it’s super good to see yourself in places you might not think you can get to, because then you’re like “I can do it.” I just think you learnt that things happen, and it’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up for that and what’s important is that you move past it.”

Class, the “Fresh, Epic, Real, Authentic, Exciting” show, as described by the cast, deserving of an A*, is available to watch on the BBC 3 website from 10am on Saturday 22nd October. Classmates, are you ready for Class?

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