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‘Doctor Who’ Spinoff ‘Class’ Taps Katherine Kelly to Lead Ensemble Cast

“Happy Valley” alum Katherine Kelly has been tapped to lead an ensemble of newcomers in the “Doctor Who” spinoff “Class.”

Kelly will play a teacher at Coal Hill School, an institution that has been part of the “Doctor Who” universe since its inception in 1963. Students will be played by newbies Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah.

Filming on “Class” begins this week. There’s no word yet on a target premiere date for the BBC Three/BBC America series created by Patrick Ness. “Doctor Who” and “Class” exec producer Steven Moffat likened the series to a British version of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

“There’s nothing more exciting than meeting stars that nobody’s heard of yet. We had the read through of the first few episodes last week, and there was a whole row of them,” said Moffet. “Coal Hill School has been part of ‘Doctor Who’ since the very first shoot in 1963, but this new show is anything but history. ‘Class’ is dark and sexy and right now. I’ve always wondered if there could be a British ‘Buffy’ — it’s taken the brilliant Patrick Ness to figure out how to make it happen.”

Kelly is also known for her roles in the U.K. dramas “Mr. Selfridge,” which has aired in the U.S. on PBS, and “The Night Manager,” which is bowing this month on AMC.

“Poldark” and “Doctor Who” veteran Ed Bazalgette is directing. Moffat and Ness are exec producers with Brian Minchin, with Derek Ritchie producing.

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