Heartstopper gained instant popularity and became a smash hit for Netflix as soon as its first series premiered on the platform in April 2022.
The LGBTQ+ coming-of-age drama, adapted from Alice Oseman’s webcomics, launched the careers of a whole host of aspiring actors, many of whom were studying for their GCSEs and A-Levels.
But after the first series of Heartstopper premiered, they were all launched to overnight stardom and have gone on to secure huge acting jobs, including in the likes of Doctor Who and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As the hotly-anticipated second series debuts on Netflix, MailOnline takes a look at how the show launched its teenage cast towards global stardom.
Popular: Heartstopper gained instant popularity and became a smash hit for Netflix as soon as its first series premiered on the platform in April 2022 (pictured: Yasmin Finney on the show)
Students: The LGBTQ+ coming-of-age drama launched the careers of a whole host of aspiring actors, many of whom were studying for their GCSEs – including lead star Joe Locke
Yasmin Finney portrays transgender teenager Elle Argent on Heartstopper, whose romance with best friend Tao Xu (William Gao) is set to be explored in series two.
In the eight-part first series, Elle revealed she has a crush on her best friend Tao Xu (William Gao), who is also close friends with Charlie (Joe Locke) and Isaac (Tobie Donovan).
But before her breakthrough role in Heartstopper, Yasmin, now 19, had just starred in an array of local theatre productions while growing up in Manchester.
Among her theatre credentials, she featured in an array of productions at The Sackville Theatre on Manchester College’s Shena Simon Campus.
She also performed at The Royal Exchange Theatre as Rose in Page to Stage, before securing her first on-screen role as the lead in Billy Porter’s directorial debut film What If?.
However, after being cast in August 2021, she was later forced to pull out of the project amid Covid-19 travel restrictions, which impacted her ability to get a US work visa.
She was originally cast as teenager Kelsa, who embarks on a high school senior year relationship with Khal (Abubakr Ali) after he reveals his crush on the internet, but was later replaced by Eva Reign.
Yasmin then secured her breakthrough role in Heartstopper and shot to overnight fame, and had impressively appeared on the cover of Vogue by November 2022.
Fame: Yasmin Finney portrays transgender teenager Elle Argent on Heartstopper, whose romance with best friend Tao Xu (William Gao) is set to be explored in series two
Overnight fame: Before her breakthrough role in Heartstopper, Yasmin, now 19, had just starred in an array of local theatre productions, but then shot to global acclaim
She now boasts 1.5millon followers on Instagram and has become a role model for many teenagers, speaking out about her experience as a transgender woman and pushing for more representation on screen.
Yasmin has gone on to secure a huge casting role since Heartstopper propelled her to fame, as it was announced in November that she would be joining Doctor Who.
She will join the cast of the sci-fi franchise for the upcoming three 60th anniversary episodes, starring alongside the likes of huge stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate.
Yasmin will star as a mysterious new companion called Rose, with a trailer showing her looking on in shock as a spaceship soared through the sky alongside David.
She previously told how she felt ‘honoured’ to have been chosen for the role by returning showrunner Russell T Davies, after ‘idolising’ Doctor Who as a child.
And Yasmin has high ambitions as she has also told how she wants to become the first transgender superhero in the Marvel or DC universe.
She told MailOnline how playing a superhero in a blockbuster movie is one of her career ambitions – and she’s already had some interest from Hollywood.
Speaking at the Attitude Pride Awards, she said: ‘I’d love to be a superhero. I don’t want to pick between Marvel and DC and limit my possibilities but definitely a superhero, like the first trans superhero ever.’
Yasmin also confirmed she has already had offers from Hollywood, saying: ‘I can’t get into it but yeah there are things in the pipeline.’
Big job: Yasmin has gone on to secure a huge casting role since Heartstopper propelled her to fame, as it was announced in November that she would be joining Doctor Who
Stars: She will join the cast of the sci-fi franchise for the upcoming three 60th anniversary episodes, starring alongside the likes of David Tennant (pictured) and Catherine Tate
Joe Locke took on the leading role of Charlie Spring in Heartstopper, with the series exploring his crush and then blossoming relationship with friend Nick Nelson (Kit Connor).
He beat out around 10,000 other actors to secure the role after responding to an open casting call at the time, despite it being his first ever venture into TV.
Despite it being his first professional role, Joe spent his childhood attending amateur groups at the Gaiety Theatre on the Isle of Man – where he grew up.
Joe, 19, previously told how he had no professional acting experience before auditioning for Heartstopper and didn’t even have an agent, but his talent won over the producers.
Speaking on This Morning, he said: ‘I had not done any professional acting before, so they did an open casting call, so I think 10,000 people auditioned and you didn’t need an agent you just sent in a self-tape.
‘I thought, even if I don’t get it, that’s quite cool – and then I got another recall and I was like “Oh, what if this actually happens?”. Then I ended up getting the part and it was just, all my dreams came true.’
Joe was living at his family home on the Isle of Man and had to fly to London for the duration of filming, achieving a huge milestone in taking on his first filming project.
And he was also balancing filming with his studies, as he was just 17 years old and studying for his A-Levels when he took on the leading role.
Romance: Joe Locke took on the leading role of Charlie Spring in Heartstopper, with the series exploring his crush and then blossoming relationship with friend Nick Nelson (Kit Connor)
Aspiring star: He beat out around 10,000 other actors to secure the role after responding to an open casting call at the time, despite it being his first ever venture into TV
While promoting the series, he was gearing up for his A-Level exams, and he and co-star Kit Connor had to appear earlier in the morning than scheduled for an interview on This Morning so they could go and study.
It was a family friend who persuaded him to audition for Heartstopper in the first place, and it certainly paid off, as he now boasts 3.5million Instagram followers.
After finishing his A-Levels last year, he is also gearing up for huge Hollywood success after nabbing a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With Heartstopper kickstarting his career, he has secured a role in Agatha: Coven of Chaos, an upcoming Disney+ TV series starring Kathryn Hahn.
Kathryn, 50, portrayed supervillain Agatha Harkness in WandaVision and will be returning to the role for the upcoming nine-part series, which will premiere in 2024.
It is a spin-off of WandaVision, focusing on chaotic character Agnes, who was revealed at the end of the series to be a powerful witch from the Marvel Comics named Agatha Harkness.
The show will reveal more about the mysterious character and Joe will be taking on the role of a witch’s familiar – who serve the witches and provides them with protection.
Though his role as a familiar has been disclosed, his name has not and it has been widely rumoured that he will be Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) teenage son Billy.
Billy is also known by his superhero name Wiccan and is one of the most popular young, gay superheroes in the Marvel Universe, and fans have long been awaiting his on-screen debut.
After Joe was first confirmed to be joining the cast in November, Patti LuPone then gave a hint about which character he will be playing in May.
She said: ‘We are a coven of witches, and the witches are Kathryn Hahn, Aubrey Plaza, and the familiar — if anybody knows — is Joe Locke.’
Superhero: With Heartstopper kickstarting his career, he has secured a role in Agatha: Coven of Chaos, an upcoming Disney+ TV series starring Kathryn Hahn
It is unknown what magical storyline might see Billy become the familiar and serve the witches, who are also his mother Wanda’s enemies.
Speaking about the huge role, Joe told how he was ‘determined’ to secure the part and put all of his energy into his auditions.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said: ‘With Marvel, I was very determined to get the part.
‘I had never been that determined about anything before, which I think meant that I was putting my energy into it.’
‘But I also think I’ve just been one of the luckiest people in the world in the last two years,’ he modestly added.
Hotly-anticipated: Kathryn, 50, portrayed supervillain Agatha Harkness in WandaVision and will be returning to the role for the upcoming nine-part series, which will premiere in 2024
Kit Connor was arguably the best-known of the teenage Heartstopper cast before joining the series, having already ventured out into Hollywood as a child actor.
The actor, now 19, spent his early childhood starring in adverts before making his TV debut when he was eight, with a minor appearances in Sky One sitcom Chickens.
Soon after his on-screen debut, Kit had secured other roles in television film An Adventure in Space and Time and the soap opera Casualty.
His first film came in 2014 when he stepped into the role of Tom Anderson in the holiday comedy Get Santa, before bagging a part as Archie Beckles in the CBBC series Rocket’s Island.
He secured various other stage and television projects including BBC’s War & Peace while he also voiced Pantalaimon in His Dark Materials.
Then, he bagged the role of young Reginald Dwight in smash biographical film Rocketman about Elton John’s life.
Fame: Kit Connor was the best-known of the teenage Heartstopper cast before joining the series, having already ventured out into Hollywood as a child actor
Child star: Kit had already secured stage and television projects including BBC’s War & Peace while he voiced Pantalaimon in His Dark Materials (his character is pictured with Lyra)
While filming the musical film Kit underwent vocal coaching from composer and musical director Michael Roberts, and even learned to play the piano so his performance looked more realistic.
The young actor rubbed shoulders with the likes of Richard Madden and Taron Egerton while promoting the project, and was even lucky enough to meet Elton John.
And he has seemingly remained in contact with Elton, as Kit and his Heartstopper co-stars Sebastian Croft and William Gao joined Elton John and Dua Lipa for dinner in December.
Sharing a snap of the intimate meal to Instagram, Elton wrote: ‘Congratulations to the whole #Heartstopper team, especially Kit Connor who played young me in Rocketman (you’re a star), on your win at last nights @AttitudeMag #AttitudeAwards!
‘It’s a beautiful series and a powerful portrayal of young gay love – thank you for making it!’
Kit bagged his role on Heartstopper through his agent, originally auditioning via self-tape for the role of Charlie before producers informed him he would be more suited to play rugby player Nick.
‘I had actually heard of Heartstopper before but I’d never gotten around to reading it so then when I was finally able to read it and slowly get through all four volumes I was just like, ‘Yeah, this is something I’ve got to be a part of’, he told Entertainment Weekly.
Although he had a minor role in Rocketman, Heartstopper was his first huge leading role and launched him into overnight mainstream fame.
He now boasts an impressive 4.9million followers on Instagram and has gained a huge fanbase, while he has also appeared on a whole host of magazine covers.
After his first big leading role in Heartstopper, Kit has gone on to be cast in the hotly-anticipated film A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow.
The upcoming film is being adapted from Laura Taylor Namey’s bestselling book, which follows a teenager from Miami as she unexpectedly finds love while spending the summer in Winchester.
It will star Maia Reficco in the leading role of Lila Reyes while Kit will portray her love interest Orion Maxwell.
It was also announced in March that Kit will also lead the cast in horror film One Of Us, according to Deadline.
The mystery-horror is being filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and sees Kit search for the stranger at a funeral when members of a family all begin dying one by one.
Wow! Then, he bagged the role of young Reginald Dwight in smash biographical film Rocketman about Elton John’s life
Hollywood: The young actor (left) rubbed shoulders with the likes of Richard Madden and Taron Egerton while promoting the project, and was even lucky enough to meet Elton John
Film star: After his role in Heartstopper, Kit has gone on to secure a role in hotly-anticipated film A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, and will lead the cast of a horror film
Sebastian Croft had secured an array of small TV roles before his big breakthrough role as bullying schoolboy Ben Hope in Heartstopper.
The actor, now 21, had a small role in Game Of Thrones when he was just 13 years old as he portrayed the young Ned Stark in two episodes back in 2016.
He then went on to feature in an array of other small on-screen roles before starring in Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans in the more major role of Atti.
Sebastian then continued to secure more acting jobs including in Doom Patrol and Dampyr, before catapulting to overnight global fame in Heartstopper.
He now boasts more than 1.8million followers on Instagram and has secured a huge fanbase, speaking openly about LGBTQ+ rights and representation.
Recently, he has taken to the stage at Chichester Festival Theatre alongside Eileen Atkins for a new production of Amy Herzog’s play 4000 Miles.
He also appeared in 2023 coming-of-age fairy tale Wonderwell, and is now gearing up for the release of teenage romance film How to Date Billy Walsh, which will hit Prime Video on September 8.
Sebastian will portray Archie, who keeps his love for his friend Amelia, played by Bridgerton star Charithra Chandran, a closely-guarded secret.
He is finally building up to tell her how he feels when she falls for new transfer student Billy (Tanner Buchanan), getting in the way of his grand plans.
Antagonist: Sebastian Croft had secured an array of small TV roles before his breakthrough role as bullying schoolboy Ben Hope in Heartstopper
Project: He recently finished filming for How to Date Billy Walsh, which sees him portray Archie, who falls for his friend Amelia, played by Bridgerton star Charithra Chandran
It is his first major leading film role, and fans have been eagerly gearing up for the movie, which also stars Nick Frost and Guz Khan.
Sebastian also recently secured a voice role in the action role-playing Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy.
The game allows players to customise their characters, and Sebastian’s voice is one of the options players are able to choose from.
However, he was forced to defend his role after receiving backlash for getting involved in the project after JK Rowling came under fire in early June 2020 for controversial tweets she posted about the transgender community.
Sebastian said in a tweet earlier this year that he signed up to the project ‘long before he was aware of JK Rowling’s views’.
He said: ‘I was cast in this project over 3 years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with.
‘This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views. I believe whole heartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men.’
He continued: ‘I know far more now than I did 3 years ago, and hope to learn far more in the next 3.
‘I’m really sorry to anyone hurt by this announcement. There is no LGB without the T.’
Backlash: Sebastian also secured a voice role in the Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy, but was forced to defend taking on the role after JK Rowling’s controversial tweets