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LGBT lead planned for 'Doctor Who' spinoff series 'Class'

The new BBC sci-fi series about teens attending Clara Oswald's Coal Hill School will feature a gay lead character.

The upcoming "Doctor Who" spinoff series "Class" will have an openly gay lead character.

"Class" creator and writer Patrick Ness tweeted the news on Monday. Originally the character's sexual orientation was meant to be kept under wraps until the show's debut, but in the wake of Sunday's deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, that targeted patrons at a gay nightclub, Ness felt it important to show public support for the LGBT community.

Actors Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah have already been cast as the main characters attending Coal Hill School in the young adult spinoff series. "Happy Valley" actor Katherine Kelly plays the role of a teacher who will be a "powerful new presence." Ness has not revealed which actor will play the lead gay character in the series.

This isn't the first time the "Doctor Who" franchise has featured a LGBT lead character. In spinoff series "Torchwood," Captain Jack and Ianto Jones were in a relationship with one another. But this marks the first time a younger lead character will be written as gay.

Steven Moffat will serve as the executive producer of both "Doctor Who" and "Class," at least until 2017. "Class" was announced late in 2015 and will debut on BBC Three and BBC America later in 2016.