Class, the BBC’s YA spinoff of Doctor Who, has lined up a group of new talents to star alongside Happy Valley‘s Katherine Kelly who will play a teacher and powerful new presence at the sci-fi drama’s Coal Hill School. Greg Austin (Mr Selfridge), Fady Elsayed (Silent Witness), Sophie Hopkins (Dark Matters) and Vivian Oparah are joining the series as Coal Hill students. Written by Patrick Ness and set in contemporary London, Class starts filming today.

BBC America said today that each of the characters has “hidden secrets and desires. They are facing their own worst fears, navigating a life of friends, parents, school work, sex, sorrow — and possibly the end of existence.”

Executive producer Steven Moffat says, “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. 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.”

Ed Bazalgette (Poldark, Doctor Who) is directing. Moffat is EP with Ness and Brian Minchin. A BBC Cymru Wales production, it’s co-produced with BBC America and BBC Worldwide.