Spoilers ahead for the first season of Heartstopper. 

Joe Locke “cried” after reading Olivia Colman’s final scene in Netflix’s Heartstopper.

The queer coming-of-age series, based on the webcomic and graphic novel of the same name from Alice Oseman, follows the blossoming romance between the openly gay Charlie Spring (Locke) and rugby player Nick Nelson (Kit Connor).

With Colman’s casting a secret until the show’s release, her role as Nick’s mother garnered an enormous reaction from viewers on social media, with one fan writing: “I could literally cry. She is perfect casting for a perfect mom.”

Speaking with GAY TIMES, Connor says it was “incredible” and an “honour” to work with the Academy Award-winning actress.

“It was two days that we worked with her,” he reveals. “We had the first day to get some of the lighter scenes out of the way and get to know each other by the next day where we have really heartwrenching scenes.

“We knew each other a little bit more. She’s so, so lovely. Joe met her as well.”

Locke says Colman “came straight over” to him and embraced him with a “massive hug”, adding: “I was just like, ‘Oh my god.'”

The Favourite star appears in a variety of scenes throughout the series, but it was her final performance with Connor – in which Nick comes out as bisexual to his mother – that made the most impact on viewers, including Colman herself.

“We were reading [the scene] through and suddenly a tear rolls down her eye, and we were only giving 50%!” admits Connor. “I was thinking, ‘Oh god, I’m gonna have to step up my game now, as if I didn’t already have to!”

Although visibility for LGBTQ+ stories has exponentially grown in recent years on the small-screen (albeit, not fast enough), bisexuality is often misrepresented – with many bisexual characters conforming to harmful tropes and myths.

Bisexual male characters on television are also scarce. With this in mind, Connor says the scene was one of the most “important” for him as an actor and a scene that he “really wanted to get right” for bisexual audiences around the world.

“You don’t see that often in media,” he says. “I think it’s something that I really wanted to get very raw. I wanted to be just as genuine as possible.”

Locke, who says he “cried the first time” he read the scene (same), stresses the importance of having shows such as Heartstopper that celebrates “queer existence” instead of focusing on queer trauma and conflict.

“Growing up queer,” he explains, “I think that there isn’t enough of that and I hope that we can help change that and show real, not fabricated, stories to bring some hope in a time that might not be so hopeful.”

Connor agrees, saying it’s necessary to show younger audiences that might be struggling with their sexuality and/or gender identity that being part of the LGBTQ+ community is “beautiful”.

Heartstopper also stars William Gao as Tao Xu, Yasmin Finney as Elle Argent, Sebastian Croft as Ben Hope, Cormac Hyde-Corrin as Harry Greene, Rhea Norwood as Imogen Heaney, Tobie Donovan as Isaac Henderson and Jenny Walser as Tori Spring.

The first season has received universal critical acclaim for its performances, script and enchanting depiction of the queer experience. Its faithfulness to the source material was also singled out for praise.

You can watch the entire first season of Heartstopper now on Netflix.

You can read our full interview with the cast of Heartstopper and Alice Oseman via the GAY TIMES app, Apple News+Readly, and Flipster.