Class exclusive: Sophie Hopkins on going back to Coal Hill

Actress Sophie Hopkins talks us through Buffy-inspired Doctor Who spinoff Class

1) The British Buffy111153630-class3-large_transo6qpiblidqhyceykofbymbiowthnun16jly8a9bom6u
Doctor Who’s upcoming teen spin-off Class got people both excited and worked up this year when Patrick Ness described it as the British version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. That statement is yet to be quantified, but star Sophie Hopkins insists that the show is surprisingly dark. “That’s the main thing that stuck out for me when I saw the trailer,” she says. “I think there’s always going to be comparisons to other teen shows before people watch Class. I’m lucky, I keep being shown little bits on the side – it’s completely different to anything I’ve seen before.”


2) Meet April

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 14:00:00 on 01/09/2016 - Programme Name: Class - TX: n/a - Episode: Class - B2B early images (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 1ST SEPT, 14:00HRS** After 4 months in production, it’s the last week of term as filming wraps on BBC Three’s brand new YA series, Class. Coming this Autumn to BBC Three! Miss Quill (KATHERINE KELLY), April (SOPHIE HOPKINS) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Simon Ridgeway

Before Class, Hopkins had mainly worked on short films, so she was excited to get to spend more time with her character, April, an A-Level student at Coal Hill. “She’s had quite a rough childhood,” she says. “She was in an accident with her parents, and her mum was left paralysed from the waist down, so she’s pretty much her mum’s sole carer… That’s been her main focus, there’s no background of her [having friends], so the people she meets in the show… it’s all new friendships, so she’s learning a lot about herself through the other people and through the challenges they face.”


3) The man behind the magicclass-2
Writer Patrick Ness, the man behind Class, has been a busy body recently, penning the script for A Monster Calls and churning out hit books. But Hopkins tells us he always found time to visit the set. “He’s like a ray of sunshine, we’re always so happy to see him. We’re really lucky to have the writer present on set a lot of the time. He’s not a man of many words, which is funny for a writer, but he’s very concise. I feel really lucky just to spend time with him talking about the role and about the project.”


4) A world of pure imagination

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 18/10/2016 - Programme Name: Class - TX: n/a - Episode: Class - Ep2 (No. 2) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Tanya (VIVIAN OPARAH), April (SOPHIE HOPKINS), Charlie (GREG AUSTIN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Simon Ridgeway
As a long-time sci-fi fan, Hopkins is happy to finally get her teeth into the genre professionally. “I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi and fantasy, so it’s always something that I wanted to do. It crosses over to reality as well, and that’s the beauty of the Doctor Who world: you’re not completely on another planet, and everything is not – excuse the pun – alien to the audience; there are things they recognise, and things that I recognise, playing April, mixed up with a lot of good old-fashioned space monsters.”


5) Tennant or Smith?50th_iconic_wallpaper_16x9
Like everyone involved with Who, Hopkins has her favourite Doctor (or two). “I find it really difficult to choose between David Tennant and Matt Smith,” she confesses. “Whenever I see Tennant on screen I just smile – he’s so wonderful and charismatic, and I love what he gave to the Doctor. But I loved how Smith seems almost childlike in the way he discovers new things. I could watch his episodes on repeat. I couldn’t possibly say between the two of them!”


Class will stream on BBC Three in October. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.