Class writers tease scrapped Weeping Angel storylines for cancelled Doctor Who spin-off

Other stories would have involved cancel culture and Ferris Bueller-style fun.

Weeping Angels Exclusive

It’s five years this week since Doctor Who spin-off Class first came to our screens, creating a new youth-skewed take on the Whoniverse that saw a gang of teenagers fighting off alien threats in Coal Hill School. Sadly, despite early buzz and a cameo from then-Doctor Peter Capaldi, the series struggled to make an impact, and an expected second season never came, leaving things on a massive cliffhanger.

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Said cliffhanger involved the return of deadly living statues The Weeping Angels, revealed to be pulling the strings at Coal Hill and with dark plans afoot – and now, as the Angels make their big return to the main Doctor Who series, the team behind Class have opened up about what might have happened in season two.

“What I love about the Weeping Angels is what I love about certain kinds of sci-fi: they’re aliens who are really alien, as in not at all like us, not even sharing the same frames of reference,” Class creator Patrick Ness told RadioTimes.com as part of a wider look back at his BBC TV show.

“I mean, I played with the idea a little bit in the first season with the flower petal invasion: what if aliens were something we couldn’t even argue with, what if they and their motives were entirely inexplicable?”

Previously, Ness had suggested season two would involve a visit to the home planet of the Weeping Angels and discover a civil war between factions of the species, filling in more details than have ever been revealed in Doctor Who about the enigmatic aliens.

“I’d envisioned the civil war and the planet like that,” Ness said. “Something only comprehensible in a small way, with so much of it remaining a mystery, reminding us that there are paths we’re just never going to understand.”

Still, that wasn’t the only Weeping Angels idea discussed. Prospective season two writer Kim Curran has revealed her own pitch for the terrifying creatures, which would have involved a trip back to the 1990s.

“I ended up pitching ten [ideas],” Curran said. “Of those ten, we were all most excited by one called Time Capsule.

“It would have seen the whole gang blasted back in time to the 90s by the Weeping Angels, their only hope of getting [home] a time capsule they knew would be dug up at Coal Hill 30 years later. It was going to be, in the immortal words of the Doctor, timey-wimey.”

Doctor Who
Vivian Oparah, Greg Austin, Katherine Kelly, Sophie Hopkins and Fady Elsayed in Class (BBC)

More generally, Ness and his prospective writers (a team which included authors Juno Dawson and Derek Landy) say that season two would have gone in a darker and more morally complicated direction, forcing tough decisions on the students of Coal Hill.

“The theme of series two was going to be ‘deals with the devil’. What does it cost you to save what you love if you have to do something extremely compromising to your morals?” Ness said.

“I was really looking forward to that. I had a storyline where current day Charlie (Greg Austin) met a future Charlie who’d essentially lost his soul to save Matteusz (Jordan Renzo). Could that timeline be changed? Would you do it all over again if you saw the cost?”

“My episode was going to revolve around fame, the Internet, and the backlash that’s sure to follow,” Landy told us.

“In a way, it was about so-called ‘fan entitlement’ — that curious sense of ownership some people develop with regards to entertainment they love. I had a vague plan on how best to execute the idea, but never got the chance to nail anything down.”

Sophie Hopkins, Jordan Renzo, Fady Elsayed, Vivian Oparah and Greg Austin in Class (BBC)
Sophie Hopkins, Jordan Renzo, Fady Elsayed, Vivian Oparah and Greg Austin in Class (BBC)

“[Patrick] was keen to get YA writers into the show,” Dawson added.

“My episode was centred on Vivian [Oparah]’s character [Tanya] and had a Ferris Bueller vibe in that it saw her taking a day out of her life to try being someone else. We’d talked about her being pansexual or bi too.”

Altogether, it’s an intriguing “might-have-been” for a corner of the Whoniverse that never really got to find its feet – and without any major TV appearances for the Weeping Angels between their Class cameo and their return to Doctor Who this year, it’ll be interesting to see how different their new storyline is to what Ness had originally planned.

For now, though, the kids of Coal Hill, their alien foes and their future storylines remain frozen at the end of season one (beyond a few Big Finish stories). Like the victims of the Weeping Angels themselves, they’re all trapped in the past.

To hear more about the creation of Doctor Who spin-off Class, read our full feature on the series’ anniversary tomorrow (Thursday 21st October) on RadioTimes.com.

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Class episodes 1-8 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer, while Doctor Who returns to BBC One on the 31st October. For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.