A gay hero in Doctor Who spin-off Class 'shouldn't be big deal', according to the show's creator


The creator of new Doctor Who spin-off Class said the inclusion of a gay hero in the series "shouldn't be a big deal" in 2016.

Patrick Ness has penned the BBC Three show about four students at Coal Hill Academy, the fictional London school which appeared in Doctor Who's first episode in 1963.

The American author said the lack of gay characters in stories he read growing up inspired him to make one of the Class students, Charlie, played by Greg Austin, a homosexual.

The cast of Class (BBC)

He told the Press Association: "A lot of what I write is putting in books what I wasn't getting when I was a teenager and things I really wanted to see.

"I never saw myself in a book. I never saw myself as a lead. I never saw myself as a hero.

"It's 2016 and it shouldn't be a big deal. One of the ways to change the world is to act as if the world has already changed. So it isn't a big deal because it isn't a big deal."

Greg, who describes his character as a "socially inept" alien, said in one scene he walks into a high school prom and "no one bats an eye that I'm walking in with a guy that's my date".

"That's so lovely to see that in a show of this production value," he added. "It was wonderful to play."

Greg's co-stars include Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins, and Vivian Oparah, while former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly plays physics teacher Miss Quill. Peter Capaldi appears as the Doctor in the first episode of the spin-off.

Patrick said he was happy for the show to be screened online first on BBC Three, rather than traditional television channels.

He said: "Some of the best television today is streaming. I watch Netflix all the time. The way we eat our diet of television means people are happy to try different places - premium cable, broadcast telly, streaming - you go where stuff is.

"Look at all the chances that are being taken on streaming television as well. That's the real pleasure."

The first episode of Class will air on BBC Three on October 22.