BBC Three today announces Class – a new 8 x 45 minute Doctor Who Spin off from the acclaimed ‘young adult’ author Patrick Ness.
‘Class’ is a young adult series set in contemporary London. Incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of time and space, and with darkness coming, London is unprotected.
With all the action, heart and adrenalin of the best young adult fiction (Buffy, Hunger Games), this is Coal Hill School and Doctor Who like you’ve never seen it before.
The Coal Hill School is the setting of the very first episode of Doctor Who, “An Unearthly Child“, first broadcast in November 1963. In the episode, two teachers at the school, science teacher Ian Chesterton and history teacher Barbara Wright, discover that one of their students, Susan Foreman, is a time traveller who has been attending the school as her grandfather; the First Doctor makes repairs on their time machine, the TARDIS.
The school appeared in the series again almost twenty-five years later in the October 1988 story “Remembrance of the Daleks” and sees the Seventh Doctor return to 1963 with his companion Ace to complete some business left unfinished by his hurried departure on the previous occasion.
Coal Hill School appeared again twenty-five years later, in the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor“. The Eleventh Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald is shown to have become an English teacher at the school.
In the 2014 series of Doctor Who, Coal Hill School became a recurring location. The first episode of the series, “Deep Breath“, included a brief flashback to Clara’s first day as a teacher at Coal Hill. In the second episode, “Into the Dalek“, viewers were introduced to Danny Pink, a maths teacher at Coal Hill School and romantic interest for Clara. The episode “Time Heist” included a brief scene between Danny and Clara set in the school.
The subsequent episode, “The Caretaker“, was almost completely set in and around Coal Hill School, and involved Clara struggling to keep her life with the Twelfth Doctor separate from her personal and professional life.The episode “Kill the Moon” included scenes set at Coal Hill in its beginning and end, and in its primary setting on the Moon, the episode involves the Doctor taking Clara’s student Courtney Woods to the year 2049 to be the “first woman” on it. “In the Forest of the Night” featured a group of Year 8 students from Coal Hill on a school trip with Clara and Danny, and also included two short flashback scenes set in the school.
Steven Moffat says:
“No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we’re bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain – but with monsters!”
Series writer Patrick Ness says:
“I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. There’s so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories, and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels”.
Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three adds:
“We’re excited to give Patrick Ness this opportunity to work with us at BBC Three and the Doctor Who family. Patrick understands young audiences and I’m delighted he will use his incredible skills as a storyteller to delight audiences on BBC Three. BBC Three will always innovate and offer opportunities for brilliant new talent”.
Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning adds:
“I am thrilled that Patrick Ness is writing his first drama series for BBC3. The combination of Patrick and Steven Moffat, is an exciting partnership that has created a brilliant Dr Who spin off for our BBC3 audience”.
The series will film in and around Wales from Spring 2016 and be on air next year and will be produced by BBC Cymru Wales in association with BBC Worldwide for BBC Three.
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