Yasmin Finney’s star is on the rise as she makes her mark in the entertainment industry. After her debut as Elle in Netflix’s hit series Heartstopper, it was announced that she had been cast in Doctor Who’s highly-anticipated 60th anniversary special. Finney, a talented young actress, is set to play a character named Rose, paying homage to the iconic companion Rose Tyler, portrayed by Billie Piper.
The pressure of playing a historical character
“I mean, it’s obviously got a lot of history, hasn’t it?” Finney acknowledged this in an interview with Elle UK. Taking on a character with such a rich background comes with its own set of challenges and expectations. Finney expressed that there is instant pressure when playing a character like Rose, given the significance and legacy associated with the name. However, she also sees it as a blessing to portray such a monumental character in the beloved sci-fi series.
The journey to being cast in Doctor Who was incredible for Finney. Initially, she auditioned for the series without knowing the true nature of the project, as it was shrouded in secrecy with a code name.
“When I found out what the show was and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve just been cast in Doctor Who,'” she said. “It’s a trans character as well, and it’s such a blessing as well to be able to play such a monumental character like Rose.”
While filming the 60th anniversary special, Finney worked alongside acting legends David Tennant and Catherine Tate, who reprised their roles as the 10th Doctor and Donna Noble, respectively. Finney expressed her admiration for both actors, revealing that she had grown up watching Doctor Who and that Tennant and Tate were a significant part of her experience with the show. She described the opportunity to watch them work as “TV gold” and expressed her gratitude for being a part of a series with such a rich history.
Finney’s character in Doctor Who is trans, adding an additional layer of representation and inclusivity to the series. She emphasised the importance and blessing of playing such a character, highlighting the significance for the trans community. Finney sees it as a way to show that trans individuals can have happy, natural love stories and that their experiences should be normalised and celebrated.
Filming Doctor Who was an exciting and intense experience for Finney. She expressed her anticipation for fans to witness the scares and laughs that the new season will bring. Finney revealed that some of the scenes were genuinely spine-chilling, capturing the essence of Doctor Who’s iconic ability to thrill and entertain. She also expressed her joy in working with Ncuti Gatwa, who plays the fifteenth doctor and being a part of his journey to making history.
Heartstopper: A joyful and impactful show
Before her role in Doctor Who, Finney gained recognition for her portrayal of Elle in Netflix’s Heartstopper. Based on the graphic novel series by Alice Oseman, the show resonated with audiences worldwide. It tackled themes of love, identity, and friendship while providing a joyful and positive representation of queer characters. Finney expressed her pride in being a part of a show that brings queer joy to the forefront, particularly when so much queer art focuses on trauma. She believes Heartstopper’s impact stems from its ability to reach a wide range of people and touch on universal experiences.
Elle’s journey in Heartstopper holds a special significance for Finney, as she sees it as a powerful representation of trans love. She celebrates the fact that the show portrays trans individuals falling in love, normalising their experiences and desires. Finney believes this representation is essential and impactful, particularly for young viewers who can see themselves reflected on screen. She recognises the challenges that trans individuals face in their day-to-day lives and appreciates how Heartstopper focuses on their friendships and love stories rather than solely capitalising on their struggles.
Doctor Who’s anniversary specials are set to air in November on the BBC. Heartstopper season two is streaming now on Netflix.