The story came about because I idly asked Alice who the boys would have celebrity crushes on, and she admitted she had no idea. I took it upon myself to create one for them – a classics documentary presenter mix of Professor Brian Cox, the physics TV presenter, and Henry Golding, who used to present on The Travel Show. I immediately became obsessed with my creation. Alice was kind enough to let me make Henry Maddox, TV presenter and classics nerd, an official part of the Heartstopper universe.
Alice and I have been friends since 2013, so I’ve been discussing Nick and Charlie’s journey with her for a long time, and I know the characters really well. It was really easy to write in their voices, and I had so much fun with it (mainly because I got to make Nick a bit of a cringe disaster!).
Alice and I thought we’d share the script I wrote too, so you can see how much was me, and how much was her. It’s amazing how much she managed to create exactly what was in my head, but add that extra special Oseman something to it. All of the amazing character expressions add a whole other layer of hilarity to the story.
The Ethics of Infatuation Dynamics by Lauren James – script
Tao and Nick are waiting for Charlie outside the school entrance. Nick is bouncing a football.
Tao: Hey, can you find out if Charlie is free on [date near Charlie’s birthday]?
Nick: Sure. How come?
Tao: I’m getting him tickets for a classics talk by Henry Maddox for his birthday!
Tao: He’s this TV academic presenter guy. He does deep dives on, like, why the demise of the Roman Empire is a warning sign for the future of capitalism.
Nick: Oh, yeah. I think Char’s mentioned him.
Tao: Charlie is a full-on stan for Henry. He knows his star sign. He’s got push notifications enabled for his insta.
Close up of Tao’s phone, showing a picture of a Henry Golding-type, nerdy glasses and sweater-vest, speaking in a fancy Oxbridge-style lecture hall with DARK HAIR and BLUE EYES:
Henry Maddox (classicist)
Henry Maddox FBA, FRSL (born 1987) is an English scholar and former musician, who is best known as the presenter of history programmes. Before his academic career, Maddox was a keyboard player for the Top 40 pop rock band Spare Parts. He also completed the Dakar Rally in 2019 with his brother . . .
Nick, amazed (this has never occurred to him): Charlie has a celebrity crush?
Tao: Nick. You were literally talking about how much you fancy Zooey Deschanel this morning.
Nick: Yeah but this guy is 1940s Hollywood handsome! And smart! And he looks nothing like me.
Nick slumps, despairing, football forgotten at his feet.
Nick: I can never be him.
Tao: I doubt Charlie cares. Not all of us have such a specific type.
Tao points at Charlie, walking towards them and waving dorkily.
Tao: Mate. Dark hair and blue eyes? Kinda dorky?
Charlie, overhearing this: Are you talking about Zooey Deschanel again, Nick?
Nick, blushing. Tao, smug.
Nick: Shut up, Tao.
Nick and Charlie lying on the sofa with a dog. Charlie is scrolling through Henry’s Instagram.
Close up of Henry Maddox, shirtless, nerdy glasses, lounging with a classics book:
Horny comments left by people:
- Simonk aeschylus and chill?
- laurenjames down bad for the hellenic scholar like an absolute fool
- Underhill93 talk mycenaean to me
Nick: Would you, er, say you’ve got a type?
Charlie (absently): O negative.
Nick: Not blood type. Type of person you fancy. Like that thirst trap professor.
Charlie: He doesn’t – that wasn’t – I appreciate him for his mind!
Nick, doubtfully: Oh yeah?
Charlie: He has really radical takes on the discourse around Sophocles, Nick!
Nick, sulking: I could have radical takes on Sopha – Sopho – Greek stuff too.
Charlie puts his phone down.
Charlie: What is this about?
Nick: My celebrity crush is basically you, but a girl. And yours is literally the exact opposite of me, in every way.
Nick throws a dog toy petulantly.
Charlie: Okay, so . . . who I do or don’t fancy isn’t a sign of how compatible we are.
Nick: But you’d be happier with Henry Maddox!!
Charlie: In the hypothetical universe where we’re the same age and go to school together, you mean?
Nick: I would just feel better if you fancied one of the Hemsworth brothers or a rugby player or something. Someone I could actually be, one day.
Charlie, squinting: I don’t want you to become anyone else.
Nick, standing up: I’m going to find a new crush who’s nothing like you. Then you’ll see how it feels!
Charlie, shouting after him: This isn’t a thing! Stop making this a thing!
Charlie stares at the dog, who looks equally confused at Nick’s departure.
Nick grumpily scrolling through a webpage of ‘WORLD’S HOTTEST CELEBRITIES’ (e.g. Zendaya, Jensen Ackles) on his laptop.
Nick waiting at the printer as an image prints out.
Nick pulling down a poster of Zooey Deschanel from his wall and taping up a poster of Ariana Grande.
Nick’s mum, walking past his door with a basket of laundry: Aww. Same dimples as Charlie!
Nick stares at the poster, despairing.
TWO WEEKS LATER:
Nick and Charlie queue up outside the British Library alongside a group of well-dressed academic types. Charlie is holding two tickets for HENRY MADDOX TALK.
Charlie: I really hope he talks about his new book! I just preordered it.
Henry, in a tweed waistcoat on stage, looking charming while leaning against podium:
Henry: – but we all know you can’t trust a Mesopotamian to source your copper ingots!
The audience all laughs, including Charlie. Nick frowns in confusion.
Henry: Any questions?
Charlie, hand in the air: I was wondering if you could recommend any books on Greek Sexuality?
Henry: Wow, great question.
Charlie looks pleased and giggly as Nick folds his arms, slumps down in his chair.
Nick and Charlie waiting in the queue for a book signing. Charlie is excited, standing on his toes to peer over the crowd at Henry.
Henry signs Charlie’s book.
Charlie: Thank you so much. I’m such a huge fan.
Henry (to Nick): Anything for you, love?
He winks at Nick (super charming – maybe sparkles/stars around him to show how handsome he looks)
Nick (flustered): Oh! I don’t, er, think so? That is – um –
Nick rubs the back of his neck, suddenly bashful.
Henry: Well – enjoy the book!
Nick: You too! I mean, er –
Nick, backing away, trips over a chair. Charlie catches his arm, leading him away.
Nick (starstruck): I guess he’s not so bad.
Charlie (embarrassed): Oh my god.
Text thread between Tao and Charlie:
Charlie: NICK FANCIES HENRY MADDOX
Charlie: I know!! he thinks he has a nice laugh. “It’s all posh but gruff too?” – direct quote.
Tao: you two have shared custody of a crush on this guy. w o w.
Charlie: at least he’s not jealous anymore??
Charlie: tho i had to stop talking about the new book because nick kept trying to defend henry’s honour. even though he knOWS NOTHING ABOUT CLASSICS.
Tao: save the review for your fan account.
Charlie: you cannot tell nick about that!!!!1!
Charlie: thank you for the tickets, by the way ❤
Instagram post by Nick:
Nick and Charlie posing for a photo with Henry at the signing table.
Nick’s caption: 😍
Tao: dark hair. blue eyes. dimples. dorky.
Nick to Tao: I HATE YOU.
I hope you enjoyed seeing behind the scenes on this! It was SUCH a fun project, and receiving the pages every day from Alice as she drew them was the most delightful thing ever.