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Jodie Whittaker
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Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks
 Montgomery, Alabama. 1955. The Doctor and her friends find themselves in the Deep South of America.

 As they encounter a seamstress by the name of Rosa Parks, they begin to wonder whether someone is attempting to change history.

Source: BBC Website

General Information

Season: Thirty Seven (New Series 11)
Production Code: 11-3
Story Number: 278 (New Series: 122)
Episode Number:843 (New Series: 147)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 21 October 2018
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Writers:Chris Chibnall and Malorie Blackman
Director:Mark Tonderai
Series Producer:Nikki Wilson
Producer:Alex Mercer
Executive Producers:Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens
Co-Executive Producer:Sam Hoyle
Executive Producer (for the BBC):Ben Irving
Assistant Directors:Lauren Pate and Sion Eirug
Script Supervisor:Nicki Coles
Script Editors:Fiona McAllister and Hannah Mason (Assistant)
Series Script Editor:Sheena Bucktowonsing
Editors:Rebecca Trotman, David Davies (Assistant), Hayley Williams (Assistant) and Martyn Western (VFX)
Colourist:Gareth Spensley
Head of Production:Radford Neville
Production Executive:Tracie Simpson
Production Manager:James DeHaviland
Production Assistant:Alexandra Bahiyyih Wain
Post Production Supervisor:Ceres Doyle
Production Designer:Arwel Wyn Jones
Director of Photography:Tico Poulakakis
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Steffan Morris
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Cai Stephens (Assistant), Drew Marsden (Assistant), Gethin Williams (Assistant), Mark Tonderai (B Operator) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Visual Effects:DNEG TV
Special Effects:Real SFX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Crispin Layfield and Dani Biernat
Stunt Performers:Belinda McGinley and Will Mackay
Incidental Music:Segun Akinola
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Dubbing Mixer:Howard Bargroff
Music Orchestrated By:Alec Roberts
Music Conducted By:Alec Roberts
Music Recorded By:Olga Fitzroy
Music Mixed By:Goetz Botzenhardt
Title Sequence:Ben Pickles
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Segun Akinola
South Africa Crew - Producer: Adam Friedlander
South Africa Crew - Line Producer: Alan Shearer
South Africa Crew - Production Manager: Daniela Springer
South Africa Crew - Camera Operators: George Amos and Derek Ueckermann
South Africa Crew - Camera Loaders: Kyle Oberholzer and Tshepo Nthako
South Africa Crew - Sound Mixer: Derek Mansvelt
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker (The Thirteenth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 3The Companions: Bradley Walsh (Graham O'Brien), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair) and Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan) Additional Cast: Vinette Robinson (Rosa Parks), Joshua Bowman (Krasko), Trevor White (James Blake), Richard Lothian (Mr Steele), Jessica Claire Preddy (Waitress), Gareth Marks (Police Officer Mason), David Rubin (Raymond Parks), Ray Sesay (Martin Luther King), Aki Omoshaybi (Fred Gray), David Dukas (Elias Griffin Jr), Morgan Deare (Arthur)Setting: Montgomery, Alabama, USA (1943 and 1955) Villain: Krasko

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
Duration Viewers
In Archive
843Rosa21 October 201849'37"8.1Yes

Total Duration 50 Minutes

Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 8.1


 This story exists and is held in the BBC's Film and Videotape Library.

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This is the third story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11). It was co-written by Malorie Blackman and Executive Producer Chris Chibnall and was directed by Mark Tonderai.

This story's plot concerns racial segregation in the United States during the 1950’s, including the law upheld in Alabama regarding the use of municipal transit during this period.

In this story The Doctor and her three companions arrive in Alabama, 1955, and find themselves making certain that history remains in place by ensuring that Rosa Parks (played by Vinette Robinson) will become a pivotal figure in the US civil rights movement, by thwarting the efforts of a time-travelling criminal from the future.

After the first story of this season, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", was broadcast, it was confirmed that Vinette Robinson and Joshua Bowman would be among a number of guest actors that would appear during this season. Vinette Robinson previously appeared in the show, playing the part of Abi Lerner, in the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "42" which was also written by Chris Chibnall.

Actor Morgan Deare, who played the part of Arthur, previously appeared in the show playing the part of as Hawk in the 1987 Seventh Doctor story "Delta and the Bannermen".

This story is one of few in the show's history not to end with the traditional closing theme, instead the closing credits are played out with the song ‘Rise Up’ by Andra Day, the same song used in the sequence of Rosa's arrest. This is the second story to not feature the Doctor Who theme in the ending credits, following Part Four of the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "Earthshock".

This story, along with the previous story "The Ghost Monument", was filmed in South Africa in January 2018, with Out of Africa Entertainment - a local production company.

The Doctor is heard to tease herself as being the identity of Banksy.

The Doctor claims to have lent a mobile phone to Elvis, who in turn lent the device to Frank Sinatra, against The Doctor's wishes.

The Doctor is still not used to being addressed as a woman.

Graham O'Brien is heard to refer to The Doctor as ‘Doc’ several times. Unlike the First Doctor and the Tenth Doctor, she does not seem annoyed by the abbreviation (see "The Five Doctors" and "Dreamland").

Yasmin Khan is heard to remark on how dangerous it is for her and Ryan Sinclair to walk around Alabama given their racial ethnicity. Martha Jones held similar reservations in Elizabethan England, (see the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "The Shakespeare Code") as did Bill Potts in the Regency era in the 2017 Twelfth Doctor story "Thin Ice".

Graham discovers he was a part of the original history of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, similar to how The Doctor and Donna Noble became part of events when causing the volcanic eruption in Pompeii in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Fires of Pompeii".

The Doctor has encountered time travellers attempting to alter history before in the 1965 First Doctor story "The Time Meddler".

The Doctor identifies Krasko as an ex-prisoner of the Stormcage Containment Facility. River Song was also imprisoned there for seemingly murdering The Doctor (see "The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone", "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang", "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon" and "A Good Man Goes to War").

Upon leaving the Stormcage facility, Krasko had a Neural Restrictor implanted into his brain, preventing the criminal from inflicting harm on others.

Krasko has a vortex manipulator. The Doctor comments that it is ‘cheap and nasty time travel’, resembling her eleventh incarnation's view of the device in the 2010 story "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang". Missy also referred to it as such in the 2015 story "The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar".

Krasko also has a temporal displacement weapon. He also keeps an information brick, a multi-intercepting surveillance device, and a backup charger for the displacement gun, in his suitcase. His suitcase is protected by a perception filter.

Krasko recognises the TARDIS in the alley and deduces that it might be worth a lot of money.

The Doctor mentions how the TARDIS feeds on Artron Energy (see "Four to Doomsday" and "The Doctor's Wife").

The TARDIS shows events from history in a similar way to the Time-Space Visualiser that was seen in the 1965 First Doctor story "The Chase").

Set just prior to Rosa Parks' arrest for refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger, this story dealt with heavy themes, and included blatant depictions of racism, mainly directed at The Doctor's companions Ryan and Yasmin.

The Doctor and her companions arrive in Montgomery, Alabama on Wednesday the 30th November 1955, one day before Rosa Parks made history on the 1st December when she refuses to give up her seat and is arrested for sitting in a ‘whites only’ section of a bus.

After this incident the Montgomery Bus Boycott then began on the following Monday - the 5th December 1955. The racial segregation of buses in Montgomery finally ended on the 21st December 1956.

The Civil Rights Movement was led by Martin Luther King (who is seen in this story played by Ray Sesay). In 1999, President Bill Clinton gives Rosa Parks the Congressional Medal for her services to the advancement of black people's rights in America.

This was the first televised story, since the 2013 Eleventh Doctor story "The Day of The Doctor", to feature a real-world historical figure.

Of all historical stories, since the show was revived in 2005, this story has the least amount of science fiction or fantasy element.

Ryan's response when told that the diner doesn't serve ‘negroes’ is ‘Good, because I don't eat them’. This is a quote from the boxer Muhammad Ali.

Yasmin remarks on how years later there will be a black president (see the 2009/2010 story "The End of Time".

At the end of this story The Doctor takes her companions to see Asteroid 284996, named ‘Rosaparks’.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely when Ryan is forced to use the back door of the bus, he enters using the backdoor, but behind him we see the inside of the front of the bus. Also in the end credits, for the person who recorded the music, Olga FitzRoy's name is incorrectly spelt as 'Olga FitxRoy'.

This story came with a warning on iPlayer subtitles that: ‘In this episode, there are familiar prejudices to face for The Doctor's friends’.

First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Malorie Blackman.

 The first televised story, since the 2013 Eleventh Doctor story "The Day of The Doctor", to feature a real-world historical figure.

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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks

In 1943, Montgomery, Alabama in America a woman called Rosa Parks boards a bus on her way home from work. She pays the fee but the bus driver demands she go around and get on the bus by the rear side entrance, as ‘coloured’ people are forced to sit at the back while white people sit at the front. She refuses, leading the bus driver to force her from the bus, he then closes the doors and drives off without her.

Eight years later the TARDIS materialises in an alleyway in the city. The Doctor was attempting to return her three companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan to present day Sheffield and so is disappointed that they have not arrived where she intended, again. Before attempting to leave The Doctor finds that there are traces of Artron Energy in the area from another time travelling device and so decides to investigate.

While exploring the city they become involved in an altercation in a park, caused when a woman drops her glove and Ryan, noticing this, picks it up and attempts to return it to her. The woman's husband, Mr Steele, strikes Ryan in the face, warning Ryan not to touch his wife again. The Doctor, Graham and Yasmin try to help Ryan but Mr Steele racially insults Ryan. This reminds them of the racial discrimination against coloured people that is present during this time in America. Before things escalate further out of control Rosa Parks, who happened to be passing by, interjects, calming Mr Steele by promising to have his new suit tailored for him soon. With that, Mr Steele departs with his wife. The group thank Rosa, who proceeds to chide them, telling them how coloured people like Ryan and herself are discriminated against.

The Bus Driver
The Bus Driver

As Rosa Parks leaves, The Doctor quickly uses her sonic screwdriver to scan Rosa, finding Artron Energy is flooding around her. Meanwhile, a person called Krasko finds the TARDIS. Unable to get in, he blasts it with an energy weapon only to find it further shielded. Disgruntled, he gives up and moves on.

The Doctor and her three companions convene at a diner. There, Ryan and Yasmin discuss learning about Rosa Parks at school, awed by the fact she refused to give up her seat on a bus in 1955, resulting in her arrest and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott, an event that led to the end of racial segregation on public transport in America.

Arrival in Montgomery, Alabama
Arrival in Montgomery, Alabama

Reading a paper The Doctor discovers that Rosa Parks has yet to commit her act and that they have arrived the day before. Concerned, the group wonder what to do. Because Ryan and Yasmin are not white the group discover that they are not welcome in the diner and so are forced to leave the premises.

Tracing the Artron Energy, the group locate, in a warehouse, a suitcase of equipment from the future meaning another time traveller is present, but are unable to learn more when its owner, a rehabilitated murderer named Krasko, starts firing at them with his temporal weapon forcing them to flee. They take refuge at a motel for whites-only. There The Doctor theorises that Krasko is attempting to change history by ensuring that Rosa Parks never had to refuse her seat on the bus.

Leaving her friends to research everything behind the critical moment regarding Rosa Parks, The Doctor returns to examine the suitcase's contents, before using it to shield herself from Krasko who suddenly returns. The Doctor learns that Krasko seeks to change Rosa Parks' life, since his neural implants prevent him from killing any living being.

A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park

Unable to convince Krasko to abandon his plan, despite destroying the vortex manipulator he used, The Doctor and her companions focus on thwarting his scheme by ensuring that Rosa Parks refuses her seat to Blake at the appointed time, under the exact same conditions of the incident. Although Krasko works to counter their efforts, the group stay one step ahead of him, making certain to keep history on track.

Ryan does his best to remove false notices at bus stops, put up by Krasko to put people off using the bus, when he encounters the criminal blocking the bus route with a car. Ryan learns that Krasko’s actions are motivated by his deeply racist views, and so Ryan uses the displacement device that Krasko dropped to send the criminal into the past to stop him completely. Removing the blockage, he and the others re-join The Doctor on the bus as passengers. As the moment arrives, The Doctor realises they have become integral to events, and is forced to keep them aboard the bus.

After witnessing Rosa Parks being arrested by the police for violating segregation laws, the group return to the TARDIS knowing that history has been kept intact. Back in the TARDIS, The Doctor reveals to her companions that they have ensured that Rosa Parks will go on to become a living icon for freedom.

The Doctor then takes her companions, in the TARDIS, to see an asteroid, informing them that it is named ‘Rosaparks’.

The Doctor and Her Companions
The Doctor and Her Companions
The Doctor
The Doctor
Police Officer Mason
Police Officer Mason
Manipulating History
Manipulating History
On The Bus
On The Bus
A Determined Rosa
A Determined Rosa
The Arrest
The Arrest

Quote of the Story

 'The promise of tomorrow. When today isn’t working, tomorrow is what you have.'

Rosa Parks

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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
The Complete Eleventh Series Box SetJanuary 2019BBCDVD 4296Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 10 stories
The Complete Eleventh Series Box SetJanuary 2019BBCBD 0437Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 10 stories
The Complete Eleventh Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)January 2019BBCBD 0455Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 10 stories
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 11January 2019Photo-montageMusic by Segun Akinola

In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 531 (Released: December 2018)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 532 (Released: Winter 2018/2019)

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Photo Gallery

The Doctor and Companions

Jodie Whittaker
The Thirteenth Doctor


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

On Release

Complete Series DVD Box Set
Complete Series DVD Box Set

Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set

Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Box Set

Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover



Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 531
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 531

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 532
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 532

Marvel Comics

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