Bradley Riches on how Heartstopper changed his life: ‘It’s just an incredible show to be part of’

Heartstopper star Bradley Riches has spoken to PinkNews about how the success of the show has changed his life, especially by boosting his confidence. 

“If I had that when I was 15, that would’ve helped me a lot,” he said. “Even when I was 19, it helped me a lot. It’s just an incredible show to be part of and I’m very grateful.” 

Now 22, he turned to the show’s fan base, saying: “It feels like the one thing we all have in common, we all have this love for this amazing show that we created and they’ve watched. It comes from a place of love from them [the audience].”  

Heartstopper actor Bradley Riches, who plays James McEwan, smiling (left) and drinking from a mug in bed (right).
Bradley Riches plays James McEwan in Heartstopper. (Instagram)

Following Heartstopper, where he plays James McEwan, Riches ventured into theatre work and is appearing in Babies The Musical, “a joy-filled, heart-wrenching comedy about growing out of growing up,” according to the production’s website. 

His character is one of nine year-11 pupils who have to keep robot infants alive as part of their sex-education class.

Playing a character who embraces his identity at such a young age is emotional for star, who didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin as a queer person until he was 20. 

During an earlier interview with PinkNews, he said: “[Toby’s] a character I wish I was at school. I wish I was that open, that free, that confident with who I was. It was quite cathartic to play him in some ways, thinking about 16-year-old me.”

Photo shows Bradley Riches embracing his fiance in a heart shaped pattern made of roses, against a tropical backdrop on a balcony
Bradley Riches(R) got engaged to Scott Johnston earlier this year. (Instagram/@brad_riches)

Riches has also previously opened up about finding love and the dating difficulties he’s experienced as an autistic person. In April, he announced his engagement to theatre director Scott Johnston.

Babies The Musical is running at The Other Palace theatre, in central London, until 14 July.

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