Class cast & crew on their Doctor Who spinoff, cancellation woes, & Series 2 plans

doctor who class patrick ness weeping angels series 2 frank skinner derek landy juno dawson kim curran interview oral history behind the scenes greg austin sophie hopkins jordan renzo

“I loved every minute of it,” says Patrick Ness of his Doctor Who spin-off Class. “I’d be doing it now if they’d let me.”

Following a group of students at Coal Hill school, Class was Doctor Who’s third spin-off since its 2005 revival. With a celebrated young adult author at the helm, Class was a series in the same vein as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, always bursting with ideas and deeply invested in its characters. After the success of The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood, Class seemed set to reach similar heights – until it didn’t.

Five years since the show was first released on October 22nd 2016, creator Patrick Ness, director Ed Bazalgette, and stars Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins, and Jordan Renzo look back on Class – reflecting on its complicated relationship with Doctor Who, their experiences making the show, its untimely cancellation, and the series two episodes we never saw. 

My latest piece for Radio Times, and one I’m personally very excited about: a fifth anniversary retrospective for the Doctor Who spinoff Class, including a number of never before revealed behind the scenes production details about both the show’s early development and its unrealised second series, from the BBC’s suggestion it might star Frank Skinner to just what Patrick Ness had in mind for the Weeping Angel civil war.

Class was one of the first series I wrote about professionally, many years ago; I was very fond of the show back then, to the point that when I was writing this article, trying to cite the claim it was a well-received show, I just kept running into my own old reviews. Made me laugh, that.

I’m still fond of it now: I rewatched the first episode, For Tonight We Might Die, as part of my preparation for this piece, and I loved it. Certainly, it’s not without its problems, little details here and there that I’m inclined to criticise, but on the whole I loved it – to me it felt like a show full of ideas and bursting with energy. In fact, I’d love it if the Chibnall era of Doctor Who was a little bit more like Class.

Somewhere in this show there’s the first draft of the future, I think. Or a future, anyway.

Related:

Doctor Who Review: Series 12 Overview

You can find more of my writing about Doctor Who here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this review – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?

Robin Hood cast and crew on filming in Hungary, living up to the legend, and more

robin hood bbc 2006 jonas armstrong lucy griffiths keith allen dominic minghella foz allan interview production history

Even as they forged their own path, though, Armstrong found the legend difficult to live up to at first. “I had a picture in my head of what Robin Hood looked like: six foot two, muscular, all these images came to my head,” explains Armstrong. “I felt a bit underconfident, because people have an idea of what Robin Hood should look like, or I had anyway. I think I was very self-conscious about that.”

“At the table read, in the Sheriff’s Great Hall – with all the executives from the BBC and BBC Worldwide, there were over 100 people – I convinced myself I was gonna get replaced. I was that nervous! But once the cameras started rolling, and I was surrounded by my fellow cast members, and especially the stunt team as well, I felt safe.

“After the first episode some critics were quite cruel, saying physically, I didn’t look like how Robin Hood ‘should’ look like. But that’s their opinion, so excuse my language but f**k them,” says Armstrong, explaining how “in the break between series, I worked with a trainer and put on about a stone and a half of muscle. I came back looking physically different, and I felt more at ease with myself.”

Really enjoyed writing this one – it’s a similar style of article to the Primeval piece that published recently, and between them (and the as-yet-unannounced one I’m working on still) I’m really getting into this sort of production history, behind the scenes look, oral history type thing.

Obviously I’m fascinated by television and how it’s made anyway, if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing this, but it’s a huge amount of fun to get to interview people about their experiences on shows I used to really love. Big fan of Robin Hood, back in the day.

Credit also to A Different Kind of Hood, the fansite dedicated to this show – really stunning resource if you’re interested in learning more about the show, I used it to check a lot of different details while I was doing my research for this piece (and found the HD version of the picture above there too).

You can find more of my interviews here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter. If you enjoyed reading this piece – or if you didn’t – perhaps consider leaving a tip on ko-fi?