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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 507 > Back to SCHOOL

Back to SCHOOL

In 2016 a new Doctor Who spin-off series followed in the wake of Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. We met the people behind Class, as they prepared for their first term…
Tanya Adeola (Vivian Oparah), Charlie Smith (Greg Austin), Andrea Quill (Katherine Kelly), April MacLean (Sophie Hopkins) and Ram Singh (Fady Elsayed) in Class.

Every time we meet journalists they ask if there’s going to be a spin-off of Vastra, if there’s going to be a Clara and Ashildr spin-off, or a Missy spin-off. There’s a lot of ideas for spin-offs always floating around and, to be honest, a lot of them should just be episodes of Doctor Who.”

So says Brian Minchin, the executive producer of both Doctor Who and its latest spin-off Class. “The reason we haven’t done a Doctor Who spin-off for so long,” he continues, “is because we had to wait until we had an idea that had its own voice. But Patrick Ness came along and he had a great idea. We would never do a spin-off just for the sake of it or because it would make money or whatever; it had to have the right idea behind it and Patrick’s voice was so unique that we just wanted to bring what he can do to the world of Doctor Who.”

Class creator Patrick Ness is best known for his young adult fiction (YA) and was initially approached a couple of years ago to see if he’d be interested in writing for Doctor Who. “It was fantastic to be asked to write episodes of Doctor Who,” he says, “but I thought at that moment I’d rather do something of my own. And they said, ‘Well, we have this other thought…’ They told me that they were thinking of possibly doing a spin-off set in Coal Hill and it just went ‘Bing, Bing! BING!’ in my head. I thought, ‘Oh, I know how I’d do that…’”

Coal Hill School – the main setting for Class – is firmly rooted in Doctor Who’s history. It’s where the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford) was a pupil alongside teachers Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell) when the series began in 1963. Later, the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) did battle with old enemies at Coal Hill in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988). Most recently Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and her boyfriend Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) taught there, while the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) became the school’s caretaker for a short while so he could take on the Skovox Blitzer in 2014’s The Caretaker.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The bumper 100-page Christmas 2016 issue of Doctor Who Magazine contains a wealth of seasonal goodies including: a huge preview of the 2016 Christmas Special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, with contributions from writer Steven Moffat and director Ed Balazgette; exclusive interviews with Matt Lucas, who plays new companion Nardole, and guest-star Justin Chatwin; a brand-new Christmas comic strip adventure for the Doctor and Jess: "Be Forgot"; a feature which reveals the Doctor's amazing superhero-like abilities!; The Fact of Fiction looks in-depth at 2006’s Christmas Special The Runaway Bride, with new insights from writer Russell T Davies; a look back at all the things that have happened in the universe of Doctor Who in 2016; The Time Team watch The Sarah Jane Adventures: Death of the Doctor and 2010's A Christmas Carol; a look at how the Doctor Who Pinball Table has been recreated for a new generation; the Watcher's fiendishly festive Christmas quiz; plus previews, reviews, official news and much more!
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