Word is starting to spread about a coming-of-age romance that hit Netflix on April 22. As of May 1, the series has a on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, and “” on CNET sister site Metacritic. So what’s the story?
Heartstopper is a touching, buoyant British show about out gay high school student Charlie (Joe Locke), who develops a relationship with a most surprising classmate — rugby player Nick (Kit Connor). The show’s gay, bisexual and trans characters struggle with bullies, friends, family and growing up, but the show tackles all themes in a positive, often humorous way. Heartstopper eschews cliches, and as many critics note, it watching it just makes you feel good.
UK publication The Guardian calls Heartstopper “possibly the loveliest show on TV,” with critic Rebecca Nicholson noting that “by the end of its zippy eight episodes, it leaves the sensation of being on the receiving end of a solid hug.”
If you’ve given Heartstopper a chance to stop your heart recently, you might appreciate these facts about the show.
Before Heartstopper the Netflix series there was Heartstopper the graphic novel and web comic by English author . There are four collected volumes of the web comic put into graphic novel form, with the first published in 2018, the second in 2019, the third in 2020 and fourth in 2021.
If you want to acquire the graphic novels, you may have to hunt around. The show has certainly made them more popular. My local library has more than a month’s wait to check out a copy, and as of May 1, Amazon was listing a May 23 shipping date for the first volume. Check your local bookstore, Target or Barnes & Noble if you want the printed books and don’t want to wait.
You can read the web comic online
But if you’d like to read the web comic, you can do that right now. Oseman notes it’s available on , or . And you can buy the graphic novel as an e-book, such as for Amazon’s Kindle.
The actor who plays Nick tried out for Charlie
Once you see the show, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Kit Connor playing rugby player Nick, or anyone but Joe Locke playing Charlie. Yet those roles could’ve been shaken up. to play Charlie, not Nick. He says he knew he didn’t fit Charlie’s physical description, but couldn’t resist going for the part because he loved the role.
“I thought, ‘There’s no chance I’m going to get it,’ because physically there’s nothing about me that could fit this character,” Connor said. “But then luckily there was Nick that I could sort of slot into quite well.”
The author gets a cameo
Alice Oseman, creator of Heartstopper, gets a cameo in the very final episode, as a passenger on the train Nick and Charlie are on. Don’t blink or you might miss her. But if you spot her, you might notice that she’s drawing — and she’s actually drawing Connor and Locke, as the two actors were sitting just across from her.
“I was drawing them,” Oseman revealed in a social media update, even sharing the drawing she made.
There’s also a novel about Charlie’s sister
A favorite minor character for many is Charlie’s sister, Tori, played by Jenny Walser. Believe it or not, Tori actually got her chance in the spotlight first. Oseman’s first novel, Solitaire, published in 2014, follows Tori and a fellow student as they investigate a pranks war at their school. And if you read it, you’ll learn a major fact about Charlie that’s not disclosed in the Netflix show.
Nick’s mom is the Queen
Nick’s mother doesn’t appear in Heartstopper much, but when she does, fans of British shows are bound to recognize her. Yes, Nick’s mom (OK, OK, “mum,” because England) is played by Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman. Yes, she played Queen Elizabeth II in the two most recent seasons of The Crown on Netflix. that producers were stunned when Colman accepted the role, and kept her participation secret until the show premiered.
His headmaster’s famous voice
There’s another famous person in the Heartstopper cast, but this time, viewers never see his face. Legendary British actor and comedian Stephen Fry provides the voice of Headmaster Barnes, who runs Truham Grammar School, the boys’ school in the series.
What’s with the animation?
The show is a live-action drama, but at certain emotional moments, brief animated elements — leaves, flowers, lightning bolts — add a little something. The images have the distinct style of Oseman’s art. the crew called these “Heartstopper moments.”
“I love it,” said Walters. “Hopefully it gives you goosebumps and makes you lean in when those moments happen.”
Did you spot the Game of Thrones actor?
Sebastian Croft plays Ben, and it’s probably fair to say Ben is no one’s favorite character, thanks to how he treats Charlie. But Croft himself played a much beloved character, a young Ned Stark on Game of Thrones.
Will Heartstopper get a second season?
Netflix didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Heartstopper will get a second season. But in that same , Executive Producer Patrick Walters sounded enthusiastic.
“Oh yeah, we’d love a second season,” Walters said. “I mean we have such amazing partners in Netflix and it really feels like they get the show and they understand the world we’re trying to deliver. Given there are more books in the series there’s more source material to adapt. Alice and I are getting our thinking caps on and starting to think ahead now.”
Follow the cast on social media
Want more from the actors who star in Heartstopper? Here are ways to follow them on social media, via .