11.3. Rosa

Series 11 - 2018

Writers: Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall
Series Producer: Nikki Wilson
Director: Mark Tonderai
Music: Segun Akinola



In Montgomery, Alabama, 1943, Rosa Parks is thrown off a bus by the driver for walking up the ailse and refusing to uses the "coloureds" entrance.

Twelve years later the TARDIS materialises in an alley - the 9th attempt to land in Sheffield, 2018 (or 14th depenending on who is asked). The TARDIS detects traces of Arton energy, which is odd for the 1950s. The Doctor is keen to track down the source. As they walk down a street a woman drops a glove. Ryan picks it up and hands it back, only to receive a slap in the face from her husband. As things start to get out of control Rosa Parks steps in to calm things down.

When Rosa tells the Doctor her name she and her team becomes excited, and Rosa gives then a piece of advice. Get the hell out of Alabama. But the Doctor is still reading traces of Arton enery, whilst at the same time the TARDIS has the attention of Krasko. Despite all his attempts he can't open the TARDIS.

In a cafe Yaz explaions to Ryan exactly who Rosa Parks is - a woman who refused to give up a seat on a segregated bus to a white pasenger, and got arrested for it - despite being in a class called "Rosa Parks" at school. A newspaper reveals that Rosa's arrest has yet to happen - on the following day. Whilst they are talking about Rosa and Martin Luther King the cafe goes quiet, and a waitress informs them that they don't serve negroes (referring to Ryan) - or Mexicans (referring to Yaz) - and tells them to eat somewhere else.

The Doctor tells Graham, Yaz, and Ryan, to go back to the TARDIS where it will be safer for them, but as Rosa doesn't back down neither will Yaz or Ryan. With her team the Doctor tracks the source of the Arton energy to an empty, locked, room inside a bus company. Using her sonic screwdriver the Doctor disrupts a perception filter that had been hiding a suitcase. Inside are some technological devices including information brick and multi-intercept and surveillance device, a secondary charger for a...

Unseen Krasko had entered the room and started firing at them. The Doctor and her team run outside and hide behind fuel tanks. As Krasko climbs onto a tank the Doctor climbs onto a second tank to talk to him. Krasko has a temportal displacement device, which is nearly empty and the Doctor has the spare battery, and a vortex manipulator, allowing cheap and nasty time travel. Krasko tells the Doctor to take her team and leave, or he will kill them all.

Opting not to leave the Doctor finds a motel - but it's for white's only. The Doctor and Graham are okay, but Yaz and Ryan need to sneak into a room through the bathroom window. As they are talking a police officer checks the room. Ryan and Yaz hide in the bathroom as Office Mason inspects the room. Mason looks in the bathroom, but Yaz and Ryan have disappeared.

Hiding behind bins Ryan is frustrated by the racism, and asks Yaz if it's really better in the future. Yaz reminds him that because of Rosa Parks she has become a police officer, and that one day there will be a black President of America.

They split up to find information about Rosa Parks. Ryan gets bus timetables with routes that Rosa might use, and Yaz finds out where she works. Together they effectively stalk Rosa Parks, including taking the same bus as her in the evening. The Doctor quizzes Rosa pretending to be doing market research on behalf of the bus company. When the bus stops at Rosa's stop Ryan follows her. He's soon spotted, and Rosa invites him into her house to meet with other Christians she has round - one of who is Martin Luther King.

Meanwhile the Doctor find Krasko. As Krasko fires at her the Doctor throws the suitcase, and it and the equipment is sent far into the future. On Krasko's wrist is an identifier stating he was, at some point, locked in the Stormcage facility. Krasko says he did his time and was released. But whatever he did was serious enough that Stormcage installed a neural restrictor, meaning he physically cannot injure or kill another living thing - which is why he hadn't simply killed Rosa Parks. The Doctor tests her theory by destroying Krasko's vortex manipulator. Krasko grabs her by the neck, but is unable to injure her. Krasko reveals he doesn't have to kill Rosa to affect the time lines - small actions can do the same thing. Krasko leaves - leaving his time displacement device.

Graham meets with the bus driver, James Blake, for a game of pool after work. It's then that he tells her has been given the next day off after a rota change, and he intends to go fishing. Graham delivers the bad news to the Doctor back at the motel. To set things back the way they should be the Doctor and Yaz tell the new driver - Elias Griffin Jr. - that he has won an all expenses trip to Las Vegas - but only if he leaves right away. At the same time Graham and Ryan go fishing to the same place as James Blake. When Ryan pretends to let slip news about a black bus-sit in James quickly returns.

The final part of the Doctor's plan is for Yaz to keep an eye on Rosa. The Doctor deliberatly tears her own jacket and Yaz offers to wait whilst Rosa, currently a seamstress, repairs it. 

At the bus depot Krasko has another plan. He smashed up James's bus, and says James can go home as they will cancel the route. To fix it Graham and Ryan hot-wire another bus and deliver it to James. As he does his round Krasko has been leaving flyers telling people the route has been cancelled. There are not enough people on the bus to make Rosa, when she gets on, to give up he seat (the crime she is later arrested for). 

Yaz manages to get Rosa onto the bus on time, but the Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan, need to stay on the bus to fill it up. They have no choice but to watch as Rosa refuses to stand to let a white passenger sit down. James Blake refuses to drive on, and calls the police and Rosa is arrested. This starts a series of bus boycotts, and in a years time the law is changed to stop segregation on bus in Montgomery.

Regular Cast

  • Graham O'Brien: Bradley Walsh
  • Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
  • Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole

Guest Cast

  • Rosa Parks: Vinette Robinson
  • Krasko: Joshua Bowman
  • James Blake: Trevor White
  • Mr. Steele: Richard Lothian
  • Waitress: Jessica Clair Preddy
  • Police Office Mason: Gareth Marks
  • Raymond Parks: David Rubin
  • Martin Luther King: Ray Sesay
  • Fred Gray: Aki Omoshaybi
  • Arthur: Morgan Deare

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 3. Rosa Sunday, October 21, 2018 6:55 PM - 7:45 PM 8.09M 83

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