With all the options for TV nowadays it’s hard to keep track of what to watch, but one show that should be on every Manxies radar is Heartstopper, the upcoming Netflix teen romance series starring the Isle of Man’s own Joe Locke.

18-year-old Joe, who attended Ballakermeen High School, was cast in the series in April last year, after an open casting call that saw thousands audition, and will finally be seen in his screen acting debut this Friday when all eight episodes drop on the streaming service.

Heartstopper is based on the graphic novel series of the same name by Alice Oseman and follows the story of Charlie Spring, played by Joe, and Nick Nelson, played by Rocketman star Kit Connor, two high schoolers who strike up an unlikely friendship that has them questioning if it could become anything more.

Charlie is an out, gay student described as an ‘outcast’ and caught up in an unhealthy relationship with the closeted Ben whilst Nick is a popular rugby star who is surrounded by the toxic masculinity of the football and rugby crowd.

After the two are seated next to each other in a new form room and Nick sees Charlie’s running prowess, he invites him to be the desperately needed extra member of the rugby team and the boys begin to get close.

The series has already been celebreated for its impactful LGBTQ+ based storytelling in the teen romance genre and has seen the stars, including Joe, Kit and fellow castmates Corinna Brown, Kizzy Edgell, Yasmin Finney and Will Gao, grace the covers of both Attitude Magazine and Gay Times to discuss the representation of a variety of issues including sexuality and gender identity.

The series also features Horrible Histories and Game of Thrones star Sebastian Croft, Cucumber, Banana and Tofu actor Fisayo Akinade alongside Cormac Hyde-Corrin, Rhea Norwood, Tobie Donovan, Jenny Walser, Chetna Pandya and Alan Turkington.

Reviews for Heartstopper have also heaped praise on the show with Decider describing the “perfect first season” as “transcendent” and Mashable naming Joe’s own performance as “enchanting.”

TV critic Scott Bryan also called the show “an incredible bit of television” and said “It is a show I needed 20 years ago.” Whilst Metro titled it the “TV moment of the year.”

The Netflix original is produced by SeeSaw Films, was written by Oseman themself and is directed by Euros Lyn, who has also worked on huge series like Doctor Who, Sherlock, Black Mirror, Broadchurch and Marvel’s Daredevil.

You can watch the trailer for Heartstopper below and catch every episode of the series on Friday 22nd April.