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Doctor Who spin-off Class: everything we know so far about the new BBC3 show

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 5:18 IST

It's one of the BBC's biggest hits - with 815 episodes over 35 seasons till date.

So it makes complete sense that the BBC bosses should announce a brand new Dr Who spin-off series called Class, which is aimed at a fresh young-adult audience.

Written by acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness, the series is set in contemporary London at the fictional Coal Hill school, the scene of the very first episode of Doctor Who broadcast in 1963.

Dr who spin-off class

The school was the setting for the very first episode of Doctor Who in 1963. It featured again in the sci-fi show's 25th anniversary season in 1988, before appearing yet again in the 50th anniversary special - The Day of the Doctor - where the Doctor's companion Clara Oswald becomes a teacher at the school.

The world of Class is being described as one where "incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of time and space. With darkness coming, London is unprotected".

The BBC itself is comparing the eight-episode series (45 minutes each) to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games.

Set to air next year on BBC3, it's executive produced by Ness and Doctor Who executive producers Steven Moffat (also the showrunner of Sherlock) and Brian Minchin.

"No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we're bringing his brilliant storytelling into Doctor Who," Moffat said in a statement. "This is growing up in modern Britain - but with monsters!"

The series is being compared with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games by the BBC

Ness is known of the author of nine books, including six bestselling and critically acclaimed young-adult novels. He wrote the screenplay for the adaption of his kids' fantasy novel A Monster Calls, which will be released in 2016 and stars Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones. This is his first TV series.

"I'm astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself," Ness said in a statement. "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."

The show is also likely to be the flagship the corporation hopes to use to validate its decision to cancel the BBC3 TV channel and move it online.

This isn't the first time Doctor Who has gotten a spinoff. Two other notable companion series are The Sarah Jane Adventures, which starred former Who companion Elisabeth Sladen and ran from 2007 to 2011, and Torchwood, which starred John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness and ran from 2006 to 2011.

As for how it will be perceived, it's likely that purist Doctor Who fans may create a bit of a stink. But most will be excited to see some more of the ever-expanding universe of the good doctor in his early years.

Class is set to start filming in and around Wales in spring 2016.

First published: 3 October 2015, 9:29 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.