A still of Charlie and Nick from Netflix's Heartstopper

Netflix’s Heartstopper: fans are obsessed with Olivia Colman’s surprise cameo in the LGBTQ+ coming-of-age drama

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Heartstopper may have landed on Netflix just two days ago, but it’s already receiving plenty of attention – thanks in part to a certain Olivia Colman.

This week saw the arrival of Netflix’s new series Heartstopper, an LGBTQ+ coming-of-age drama based on the highly-popular webcomic by author Alice Oseman. 

To say there’s been a lot of excitement surrounding this series would be an understatement – not only is it armed with an already dedicated fanbase, but the show’s warm and inclusive storyline has already attracted plenty of love.

But the amount of hype surrounding the series didn’t stop Netflix from keeping a few secrets from fans – including a rather surprising cameo from none other than The Crown’s Olivia Colman.  

If you’re not familiar with Heartstopper’s premise just yet, the series follows the story of Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), two high schoolers who meet in class, become friends and end up developing unexpected romantic feelings for one another. Colman – who makes her debut at the end of the first episode – plays Nick’s mother, Sarah.

Speaking to Digital Spy about how the cameo came about, Oseman – who also helped to create the show – and executive producer Patrick Walters said they were surprised when Colman got on board. 

“So, we had this grand idea that we wanted to get a big name to be Nick’s mum,” Oseman explained. “I thought there was absolutely no way that any big-name actor would want to be in this show, but we came up with a list of potential Nick’s mums, and Olivia Colman was our favourite. So, we went out to her first. We sent her some excerpts from the scripts, and the comics as well.” 

Walters also spoke about how excited everyone was to have Colman on set. “It was such a shock when she said yes. I remember speaking to her agent, and just being like, ‘Really?’ It was unbelievable. But she’s amazing, and she was so lovely.”

He continued: “Olivia left open two days where we could film with her on set. She was just so nice to everyone. She was incredibly sensitive and sweet with Kit. He performed so well. You could feel it, because he was so excited to be in a scene with Olivia. It was wonderful.”

Speaking to Radio Times about what it was like to act alongside an Oscar winner, Connor explained: “We got to film with her for two days and it was really just me and her, and it was an utterly incredible, enlightening experience for me. I think it’s an honour for any actor to be able to work with an Oscar winner [or] anyone of Olivia’s calibre.” 

Olivia Colman as Sarah in Heartstopper on Netflix.
Olivia Colman as Sarah in Heartstopper on Netflix.

While Colman’s cameo was an amazing experience for Heartstopper’s cast and crew, it was also a pleasant surprise for viewers, many of whom took to Twitter to express their excitement.

“How the heck did Olivia Colman stay a secret in #Heartstopper!” read one response. “Amazing secret keeping by Netflix. From Queen Elizabeth II to Sarah Nelson, she is clearly an International Gem.”   

“I personally think any show should have an Olivia Colman cameo without announcing it till the end just to make me scream and cry every time #Heartstopper,” added another.   

While a third wrote: “Seeing Olivia Colman in #Heartstopper was such a fantastic surprise!!”

If one thing’s for sure, Colman continues to be the gem we all know and love her to be – and her appearance in Heartstopper is the icing on top of its heart-warming cake.

Heartstopper is now streaming on Netflix

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.