Back when the Doctor Who reboot was first announced in 2003, the British press reacted, in the way only they can, with snarky humour.

"Duckie Who: Time Lord gets gay show writer" was the headline The Sun went with, and the press had much fun speculating which camp actors would step into the role.

Yet despite their apparent fears that the writer of Queer as Folk was going to gay-ify Doctor Who, not much changed in bringing the Time Lord into the 21st century. Still facing mostly the same enemies, still a straight white man for the most part, still with mostly straight white companions. It hasn't been a detriment to the series in any way, but it also hasn't helped to keep the show as relevant it should be.

And that's what makes Class so refreshing.

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The school-set show is the latest spinoff in the Doctor Who world, and within the first ten minutes it's clear that it is much more of a 21st century show than the parent show likely could ever be.

Class is set at Coal Hill Academy, a mainstay in the Whoniverse since it's very first episode. Being the centre of multiple alien invasions has put a strain on the Space-Time Continuum, and now more aliens than ever are creeping into the school, leaving a group of sixth form students to defend Earth.

The cast is potentially the most diverse Who has ever had, with black, Arab and gay leads that portrays a version of London that actually fits into its diverse, modern-day viewpoint.

At the centre of this is Charlie, a gay alien prince who is the last of his kind, and is being hunted by one of the most violent villains yet, the Shadowkin. He is protected by reluctant slave Ms Quill, portrayed in a stand-out performance by former Coro star Katherine Kelly. She delivers every line with icy sass and a cruel wit that helps her steal every scene she's in.

While the concept of Class isn't exactly original - it's essentially Buffy but with aliens - the fresh talent and high stakes storyline make it appealing from the get-go, grounding the show and the concepts in relatable and more realistic human issues than the ones The Doctor's companions tend to face.

The cast of Class faces off against a brand new enemy. Photo/Supplied
The cast of Class faces off against a brand new enemy. Photo/Supplied

It is perhaps fitting then that Class is beginning here less than a fortnight after The Zone started replaying classic episodes of Who. It shows you far things have come in the last 54 years - when The Doctor accidentally kidnapped Barbara and Ian from Coal Hill in 1963, it's doubtful anyone thought that same school be the catalyst for gay sex scenes and people's hearts exploding.

It's not exactly family-friendly viewing in the same way Doctor Who is, but anyone wanting something darker from the Whoniverse, Class is a fitting and enjoyable alternative to the Time Lord's adventures. It's close enough in tone not to alienate anyone, but is mature enough to provide some juicier Friday night entertainment.

And similar to Torchwood, diversifying Who gives the brand space to grow instead of killing it - and really, it's about damn time.

Class airs Fridays 9:30pm on Prime