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'Heartstopper' breakout star Yasmin Finney joins 'Doctor Who' cast

Finney is the second transgender actor to be cast on the BBC series. Her character will debut in 2023, coinciding with the show’s 60th anniversary.
Yasmin Finney in "Heartstopper"
Yasmin Finney in "Heartstopper."Netflix
/ Source: Reuters

Yasmin Finney is joining the cast of “Doctor Who” as a character named Rose, BBC announced Monday. Her role will debut in 2023, coinciding with the show’s 60th anniversary.

“Life on ‘Doctor Who’ gets brighter and wilder, how can there be another Rose?” said “Doctor Who” showrunner Russell T. Davies in a statement. “You’ll find out in 2023, but it’s an absolute joy to welcome Yasmin to the ‘Doctor Who’ set. We all fell in love with her in ‘Heartstopper,’ one of those shows which changes the world — and now Yasmin can change the Whoniverse!”

Finney quickly became a fan-favorite on the hit Netflix series “Heartstopper,” in which she plays the character of Elle Argent. Her casting announcement follows the reveal of the next Doctor Who — who will be played by another beloved Netflix actor, “Sex Education” star Ncuti Gatwa.

“If anyone would have told 8-year-old Yasmin that one day she’d be part of this iconic show, I would have never in a million years believed them,” Finney said. “This show has a place in so many people’s hearts, so to be seen as a trans actress by the legend himself Russell, has not only made my year, it’s made my life. I cannot wait to begin this journey and for you all to see how Rose blossoms. Get ready.”

The series has been broadcast on BBC since 1963, and it has seen more than a dozen Doctors climb its ranks. Gatwa will be the 14th person to step into the role, while who exactly Finney’s Rose character is remains uncertain. Billie Piper originated the role of companion Rose Tyler alongside the ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, in 2005. Finney could be playing a new version of that same character, or someone completely new. Also passing the torch to Gatwa is Jodie Whittaker, who has played the Doctor since 2017.

The casting of Finney, who is transgender, follows the history-making turn by Bethany Black, who was the first openly transgender actor to be cast on “Doctor Who” when she debuted her role as 474 in 2015. Rebecca Root became the first transgender actor to play a Doctor Who companion when she took on the role of Tania Bell in the audio series “Stranded.”

The news also follows the announcement that David Tennant and Catherine Tate will return to the series for its 60th anniversary, reprising their roles as the Doctor and his companion Donna Noble. The two starred in the series from 2005 to 2010.

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