Doctor Who showrunner weighs in on Heartstopper star’s “progressive” casting

Leon Miller
An image of David Tennant and Yasmin Finney in Doctor Who.BBC

Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies recently unpacked the decision to cast Yasmin Finney in the 60th anniversary specials.

Finney plays a new addition to the franchise’s canon, Rose Noble, in the upcoming trio of specials. Rose is the daughter of Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, who returns to the series for the first time since 2010’s “The End of Time (Part 2).”

Little else is known about Rose at this stage, although pre-release materials have already revealed that she will encounter a furry alien creature, the Meep, in the first anniversary special, “The Star Beast.”

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Finney has also confirmed that Rose is transgender like Finney herself. What’s more, she noted that Donna and her husband, Shaun Temple (Karl Collins) were both “supportive” of their daughter.

Doctor Who showrunner weighs in on Yasmin Finney’s “progressive” casting

Davies has publicly addressed Finney’s casting and Rose’s gender identity as well, touching on both during a Q&A session at a recent press screening of “The Star Beast.” “It’s not just a Doctor Who thing for me,” he said. “It’s something I and a lot of other writers are very keen to do, to be progressive and to just reflect more of society.

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“And it’s funny, in casting Yasmin, there’s very few people we could have cast and it’s like a light came down from heaven and there she was, before [Netflix series] Heartstopper actually,” Davies continued. “It was just so powerfully meant to be and I think she does the most amazing job and it’s an absolute privilege to work with her to get her on screen.”

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Davies also made a point of comparing the diverse casting on the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials and Series 14 / Season 1 to that of shows he worked on earlier in his career. “If you look at something I wrote in 1999, with Queer as Folk, where I had almost an entirely white cast, that’s simply inconceivable now,” the showrunner observed. “That’s naturally changed… It’s a more open door, still opening it further and further and further, as much as we can.”

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Russell T Davies admits he “fudged” Rose Noble’s age

Davies’ comments arrive hot on the heels of earlier remarks he’s made about Yasmin Finney’s casting – specifically, an apparent continuity error caused by the actor’s age. The Welsh scribe acknowledged that Finney is slightly too old to play Donna’s daughter in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, before hinting that he’ll resolve this discrepancy in a future season of Doctor Who.

“We slightly fudged the years with Donna but you mustn’t forget, uh, that time cloud that descended on Camden in 2017 and dislocated everyone by exactly eight months and three days,” Davies said. “We’ll tell that story one day. I will come to that in Series 7. So if you want to question Rose’s age, fear not, I will take care of it.”

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About The Author

Leon is a freelance Movies and TV writer at Dexerto. His past writing credits include articles for Polygon, Popverse, The Escapist, Screen Rant, CBR, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more. Originally from Australia, Leon is currently based in the UK.