The actor broke the news at this year’s London Trans+ Pride

BY KATIE KIRKPATRICK, IMAGE BY NETFLIX

Yasmin Finney shot to fame when she made her acting debut in Netflix’s LGBTQI success Heartstopper, playing trans teen Elle Argent. When it was announced that she would join the cast of Doctor Who, playing a character called Rose, fans of the sci-fi phenomenon were immediately excited at the prospect of transgender representation on the show.

Finney confirmed at the London Trans+ Pride march last weekend that her character Rose is transgender, which will make her the first major trans character in the long-running show. Addressing exiting prime minister Boris Johnson, Yasmin said “My character is trans so, Boris, I hope you see Heartstopper, I hope you see Doctor Who, because I exist, and I know you know I exist.”

Doctor Who is about to enter an exciting new era, with original producer of the 2000s incarnation Russell T Davies returning as showrunner, and Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa set to take over the iconic role of the Doctor. Speaking about Yasmin’s casting, Russell said “Life on Doctor Who gets brighter and wilder, how can there be another Rose?”

A lot of mystery still surrounds the new episodes, with 60th anniversary special episodes expected to air for New Year’s 2023 or for the anniversary itself in November next year, before Ncuti takes over the leading role full-time. Former Doctor David Tennant and companion Catherine Tate have been announced to be joining Yasmin in the specials, alongside LGBTQI icon Neil Patrick Harris who will be playing a villain, with many suggesting his role will be as the Celestial Toymaker. 


Fans have widely speculated about how Yasmin’s Rose will come into the story: she shares a name with series 1-2 companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), meaning some have suggested she will be playing a version of this character from a different dimension, while many think she may be playing the teenage daughter of former companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate).

Yasmin’s recent announcement sees her set to play perhaps one of the most visible trans characters on TV – Doctor Who’s viewing figures have seen peaks of 13 million and above, with the series’ lovable characters, clever plot twists and crazy adventures proving popular worldwide. Only 18 years old, Yasmin said of her casting: “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.”

Whilst queer Doctor Who fans will soon be bidding farewell to the budding WLW relationship between current doctor Jodie Whittaker and companion Yasmin (Mandip Gill), Doctor Who’s gay future is looking bright. Russell is behind some of the biggest LGBTQI series of the last 20 plus years, including Queer As Folk and It’s a Sin, and Ncuti, Yasmin and Neil have all found fame playing queer characters.

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