Doctor Who spinoff Class will give us new faces in familiar places

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Oct 7, 2016, 10:41 PM EDT

The upcoming Doctor Who spinoff Class is bringing new faces to familiar places. And that familiar place is Coal Hill School. You know. The school where the very first episode, "An Unearthly Child," was set, as well as the school where Clara Oswald and Danny Pink worked. 

Class is about the lives that the Doctor leaves behind when he is finished with his adventure. And here, the students at Coal Hill School learn how to cope with their newfound knowledge that life isn’t quite what the adults have told them is real. As writer/producer Patrick Ness said at the BBC America panel at New York Comic Con, “Everyone knows something is going on, but nobody will talk about it.”

The students will have a lot of learning to do: Without the Doctor to translate the alien world for the main characters, they may not ever know an alien race’s name. 

And there are so many races to choose from. “The Doctor Who universe is endlessly rich and rewarding,” said Ness. But he was also excited to work with new ones. “If you had a chance to make Doctor Who monsters, wouldn’t you just run with it?”

We’ll be seeing monsters. What we won’t be seeing: cameo appearances. (Except for the Doctor’s appearance to set up the series, it seems.) According to Ness, “I think cameo appearances are like penises. If you put it in a scene, it’s all anything anyone is going to look at.”

Here's a look at four of the actors we'll be sharing a class with:

Fady Elsayed, who plays Ram: “I play Ram. He’s a cool, loving, caring. Some people find him cocky, but he’s a sweet young boy with a  heart.”

Vivian Oparah, who plays Tanya: “Tanya is three years younger than the others but she’s got the brains. She was moved up into sixth form [Note: equivalent to senior year in America]. She just wants to make friends, but she gets defensive and she’s got a wall built up. Once that wall comes down, she’ll love you.”

Sophie Hopkins, who plays April: “She’s a good girl with ability to do bad. She’s smart, and she’s selfless.”

Greg Austin, who plays Charlie: “He’s a bit of a weird one, a bit socially inept. He doesn’t have many friends, but what he has to go through really brings them together. There’s a lot to him, that’s all I’m going to say.”

Doctor Who has had three previous spinoffs in its 53 years on air (minus its 16-year hiatus): K-9 and Friends, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and Torchwood. Fourth spinoff Class airs on BBC America in Spring 2017.

Let us know in the comments how much you're looking forward to Class being in session.