The mystery of how trans star Yasmin Finney’s character, Rose, fits into the Whoniverse has been revealed.
It’s been more than a year since returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies announced Heartstopper breakout star Yasmin Finney’s role in the hit British sci-fi series. Now, fans are finally discovering exactly who she will play.
The official BBC Doctor Who Instagram account posted a photo of Finney as Rose Noble, to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday (30 August). The image shows the actor with a chin-length curly haircut, wearing a light-wash denim jacket, bright green jumper, black-patterned skirt and a ring with the trans flag colours, as she cheekily looks off to the side.
The caption sheds light on her pivotal role in the three-episode 60th anniversary special coming out in November, as the daughter of former companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and Shaun Temple (Karl Collins).
“When we last saw Donna, the Doctor had to wipe her memory,” the caption continues.
“So, the question is, what happens when Rose meets one of her mum’s oldest friends? It’s a mystery for now, but what we do know is that just like her mother, Rose stumbles across something alien, and from that point her seemingly ordinary family is never quite the same.”
Season four companion Donna met a sad end when the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) had to wipe her memory of their time together to save her life. We last saw her during Tennant’s final adventure in 2010, The End of Time: Part 2, where she marries Shaun – and is left a lottery ticket by an uninvited guest.
Both Tate and Tennant will reprise their roles for the anniversary episodes: “The Star Beast”, “Wild Blue Yonder” and “The Giggle”.
As for Finney’s character, fans have long known she would play a vital role, given that she shares a name with adored former companion Rose Tyler.
Donna met Rose Tyler as they battled the Daleks and Davros, so some fans have speculated that her subconscious might have contributed to the naming decision.
The teaser trailers hint at the plot that Rose Noble gets herself caught up in after she discovers a fluffy alien from outer space, Beep the Meep, which she decides to bring home. Not surprisingly, chaos ensues.
Naturally, fans are overjoyed at the official confirmation and to have a trans character in such a prominent role.
“I’m so excited to see Yasmin as Rose, seeing such a prominent trans character in Doctor Who with David [Tennant] when I was 10 [years old] would have meant the world for me. So pleased that kids now are going to have someone to look up to and be inspired by,” one fan wrote.
Another said: “Looking forward to seeing Rose Noble in action. Yasmin Finney will be stellar.”
As for Rose Noble’s future, Davies recently confirmed that she will appear in series 14 when Ncuti Gatwa takes over the Tardis, as the 14th Doctor (15th, if you count Tennant twice!).
In an interview in July, Finney spoke about working with Gatwa, saying: “We’re intertwined, and I think we complement each other so well. We see how privileged we are.”
Elsewhere, Davies hinted at what to expect from Finney.
“Through contact with her, I’ve witnessed her ideals, her politics, her family, her fights, her triumphs, her life in this world,” Davies said. “A life I might never have known. It’s a journey and a joy. I love it and I hope I can do more, more, more.”
Finney joins a host of LGBTQ+ actors set to appear in the upcoming specials and subsequent series, including It’s a Sin’s Neil Patrick Harris and Drag Race legend Jinkx Monsoon, Looking‘s Jonathan Groff, and rising trans stars Mary Malone and Pete MacHale.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One in November.