Meet the cast of Heartstopper, Netflix’s LGBTQ+ teen drama
The new series follows two schoolboys as they make sense of their feelings for one another.
Heartstopper day is finally here! The new Netflix series based on the graphic novels by Alice Oseman has been highly anticipated by fans, who are thrilled to see their beloved characters make the leap into live-action.
Newcomer Joe Locke leads the cast opposite Rocketman's Kit Connor as schoolboys Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, whose friendship blossoms into romance over the course of a rollercoaster term.
Most of the supporting cast is also comprised of unknowns, although it can now be revealed that Academy Award winner and national treasure Olivia Colman also appears in a recurring role.
Longtime readers of the books will notice the addition of some brand new characters, with Oseman explaining why she introduced them in a chat with us about changes to the Heartstopper graphic novels.
Read on for everything you need to know about the Heartstopper cast.
Joe Locke plays Charlie Spring
Who is Charlie Spring? Charlie is a student at an all-boys grammar school, who was recently forced out of the closet under difficult circumstances. Since then, he has faced some bullying from the other kids at his school, but does have a sturdy support network in close friends Tao, Elle and Isaac.
At the start of a new term, his form tutor seating plan changes and he is placed next to Nick Nelson, a talented rugby player and student in the year above. They get along well, leaving Charlie to soon wonder whether their friendship could evolve into something more.
"He's just a nice person," Locke told RadioTimes.com and other press. "He's that type of person that walks in a room and you just smile, because he's just nice.
"I would always hope that that's who I would strive to be as a person and sometimes probably don't do it as well as Charlie does. So I think that really appeals to me with Charlie and the fact that he just cares so much about other people."
What else has Joe Locke been in? This is Locke's screen debut. He was cast in an open audition.
Kit Connor plays Nick Nelson
Who is Nick Nelson? Nick Nelson is a year 11 student at the same grammar school as Charlie Spring. They meet for the first time at the start of the series, having not spoken previously due to their age gap and different social circles. However, Nick's reputation precedes him as the standout star of the school's rugby team, with a promising sporting future ahead of him. He quickly becomes fond of Charlie after getting to know him in form, but the strength of his feelings forces him to address some tough personal questions.
"Something that I found so endearing for Nick was that he was so used to this slightly comfortable world because he's very likeable, he's good at rugby and he's easy to talk to, so he attracts a lot of friends," said Connor.
"I think that he never really had to try for that and then, suddenly, his world's almost tipped upside-down by Charlie, and his new feelings and kind of discovering himself."
He added: "And then he's left in that place of unrest, whether or not the friends that he did have will still accept him and whether or not he still kind of feels the same way about his old friends – that's something that I found really, really interesting."
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What else has Kit Connor been in? Connor portrayed a young Elton John in the singer-songwriter's hit biopic Rocketman, which released in cinemas back in 2019. He also provides the voice of Pan, daemon to Lyra Belacqua, in BBC drama His Dark Materials. Previously, he has appeared in SS-GB, War & Peace and Grantchester.
Olivia Colman plays Sarah Nelson
Who is Sarah Nelson? Sarah is Nick's mother, who seemingly raises him alone and is very supportive of him. However, occasional comments she makes about his assumed heterosexuality leave him feeling uncomfortable.
Read more: Heartstopper’s shock Olivia Colman role was kept secret from cast
What else has Olivia Colman been in? Colman likely needs no introduction, but we'll give her one anyway. After starting her career in comedy, she transitioned to dramatic work with the likes of Broadchurch and The Night Manager. Soon after, she collaborated with filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos for acclaimed period piece The Favourite, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress along with numerous other prestigious honours.
Since then, she's become one of Hollywood's most in-demand names, taking over The Crown from Claire Foy as well as starring in acclaimed features The Father, The Lost Daughter and The Mitchells vs The Machines. Up next for her: Marvel's Secret Invasion.
William Gao plays Tao Xu
Who is Tao Xu? Tao is one of Charlie's best friends and is fiercely protective of him. He is highly sceptical when Nick starts spending time with Charlie and fears he could be taking advantage of his good nature. Generally, Tao is easily alarmed by anything that threatens to endanger the friendship group he loves so dearly, which also includes a newly absent Elle and Isaac.
"He's so down to earth, he's not afraid to say what he thinks and I really don't have that," said Gao. "I just feel rude or I feel kind of impolite. And I really admire that sense of 'no... this is what I have to say'. I think that that kind of aspect in any person is a very admirable thing."
What else has William Gao been in? This is William Gao's screen debut.
Yasmin Finney plays Elle Argent
Who is Elle Argent? Elle is another close friend to Charlie and Tao. She is transgender and was forced to move schools last year after suffering cruel treatment from students and teachers alike. This term, she is starting at a neighbouring all-girls school, but worries whether she will be able to make friends.
"What I love about Elle is her bodacious-ness and unapologetic-ness," said Finney. "Being herself in an all-girls school can be a lot, but I just really admire her strength and confidence to live her life authentically every day."
What else has Yasmin Finney been in? This is Finney's screen debut, but she has previously found great success on social media site TikTok. Last year, news broke that she would be starring in the directorial feature debut from POSE star Billy Porter.
Corinna Brown plays Tara Jones
Who is Tara Jones? Tara is a student at the all-girls school that Elle joins. She strikes up a rapport with Elle after meeting one morning in form.
"My favourite thing about Tara is how kind she is and how much she cares about everyone's emotions around her. It can be quite detrimental... but I think that quality in her is something I aspire to have as well," Brown told RadioTimes.com.
"She's a listener, she takes it all in and she can pick up when someone's over in the corner, not [feeling] quite right. She's clued into all of that, which I think is beautiful."
What else has Corinna Brown been in? Brown is a relative newcomer to the screen, but did have a small role in BBC Three television film My Murder, starring John Boyega.
Kizzy Edgell plays Darcy Olsson
Who is Darcy? Darcy is Tara's girlfriend, although that's something they have largely kept secret up to now, with Tara being particularly nervous about the idea of coming out. The two of them start hanging out with Elle when she joins their school.
"Darcy is great because she's not in any way confused. She knows. And being able to feel that concretely and see someone that is so confident in who they are, so unconcerned with how the rest of the world sees her, I think is really great," said Edgell.
"And it's good that she uses the word lesbian, rather than 'a girl who likes girls' or anything like that. The word lesbian and the use of the word lesbian in this show is really important to me, because it's seen a lot of the time as a dirty word."
What else has Kizzy Edgell been in? This is Edgell's screen debut.
Sebastian Croft plays Ben Hope
Who is Ben Hope? Ben is Charlie's boyfriend at the start of the series, but their relationship is toxic. Ben refuses to even acknowledge him in the corridor as he is terrified that his friends might find out about them, which frequently leaves Charlie feeling unvalued.
What else has Sebastian Croft been in? Croft is best known for playing a young Ned Stark in HBO's hit fantasy series Game of Thrones, while he has also appeared in Penny Dreadful and DC's Doom Patrol.
Cormac Hyde-Corrin plays Harry Greene
Who is Harry? Harry is a bully who attends Truham Grammar School for Boys. He frequently targets Charlie and Tao with hurtful comments, some of which are overtly homophobic. Nick is reluctantly friends with him as they both play on the rugby team.
What else has Cormac Hyde-Corrin been in? This is Hyde-Corrin's screen debut.
Tobie Donovan plays Isaac
Who is Isaac? Isaac is one of Charlie's close friends, who often hangs out with him, Tao and Elle. That said, he is somewhat more introverted than the other members of the group, which helps him avoid getting drawn into arguments.
What else has Tobie Donovan been in? Heartstopper is also Donovan's screen debut.
Rhea Norwood plays Imogen
Who is Imogen? Imogen is a student at the nearby girls grammar school, who is not-so-subtly hiding a crush on Nick.
What else has Rhea Norwood been in? Norwood is another new discovery making her screen debut here.
Jenny Walser plays Tori Spring
Who is Tori Spring? Tori is Charlie's older sister, who is generally introverted but cares about what's going on in her brother's life. She is the main character in Alice Oseman's novel Solitaire, which is set before the events of Heartstopper.
What else has Jenny Walser been in? Last year, Walser played Louise Wrigley in the 10th season of BBC drama Call the Midwife.
Fisayo Akinade plays Mr Ajayi
Who is Mr Ajayi? Mr Ajayi is the art teacher at Charlie's school and a fellow member of the LGBTQ+ community. He looks out for Charlie and allows him to eat lunch in the art classroom on days when he faces harassment in the playground.
What else has Fisayo Akinade been in? Akinade's previous credits include The Personal History of David Copperfield, Silent Witness and zombie drama The Girl with All the Gifts. He is also known for playing Dean Monroe in Russell T Davies dramas Cucumber and Banana.
Heartstopper is available to stream on Netflix now. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
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