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    Craig @craig

    Doctor Who - Rosa

    With a title referencing the first ever episode of AG Who, this episode sees the new TARDIS team take their first trip through time. They travel back to 1950s Alabama where they meet Rosa Parks. They soon discover that someone is attempting to change history.

    Parks is played by Vinette Robinson who played Abi in Chibnall’s earlier Doctor Who story “42”, which you can currently watch again on iPlayer (if you have access). She’s also appeared in shows such as Sherlock, Casualty, and the Black Mirror episode “Hated in the Nation”

    It is written by Malorie Blackman and Chibnall. Blackman is, amazingly, the first person of colour to ever write for Doctor Who. She is an award-winning author of over sixty books and was The Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015. She often deals with issues of race and her five book series “Noughts & Crosses” (titled “Black & White” in the US) is set in a world where segregation is standard across the whole planet. It is one of the most celebrated Young Adult series of all time and is due to be turned into a TV series with Toby Whithouse (of School Reunion and Vampies of Venice fame) as lead writer.

    Hopefully that means we’re in for a real treat of an episode this week.


    That moment when Graham realised he had to be on the wrong side of history…

    MadTimeTravellingScot @madtimetravellingscot


    That’s more like it.

    Back to form with real moral questions tearing the soul apart. Some actual jeopardy. More than one tear shed.

    Malorie Blackman, we need more of you doing what you do.




    Meanwhile, it is nice to see how things have changed…

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Well hats off to Malorie Blackman, that really made me cry.

    I’m sure there will be some moaning and groaning in certain corners of the Whoniverse, but I will never forget the impact watching Terry Nation’s Genesis of the Daleks had on me as a kid (and obviously that was a political allegory for the rise of fascism), and I think this was a brillant episode which will have the same impact on kids watching now.

    The time-travelling alt-right dude from the Stormcage was intriguing on several levels. Firstly, as part of the political narrative, to show us that yes, there are still racists and would-be fascists in the future, the fight goes on, and secondly because any mention of the Stormcage invokes River, of course, so now I have hopes she’lll get a mention at some point (if not an appearance).

    Also, where the hell did Ryan zap alt-right dude to, and won’t that lead to some unintended time distortion of its own? Perhaps we haven’t seen the last of him?


    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    That felt horrible to watch, even knowing it had to turn out right in the end. I just can’t comprehend that those views were commonplace in the 50s. My heart broke when they realised they had to stay on the bus, to be part of history. Perfectly written.



    Obviously he got zapped back to the primordial soup and contributed his biochemistry to kick-starting evolution 😉

    Ryan did say “as far back as it would go” – but a possible arc thread.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Trolling report: Very poor attempt, little imagination. About 1 out of 10.

    Bloody hell, I remember the old days, we had proper trolls back then …

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Okay, anyone noticing a theme with the episode villains?

    Tim Shaw – pushed off a crane and zapped back to who-knows-where.
    Ilin – a hologram, zapped himself back to who-knows-where.
    Krasko – gets zapped by Ryan – back to who-knows-where.

    Are we going to end up with a grand villain meet-up for the finale, or is this just so we don’t know who’s going to be returning?

    Also, last week we had reports of ‘cleansing’ by the Stenza, and this week we had an alt-right white supremacist from the future. Coincidence, or is there a racism theme developing?


    Other musings:

    “Don’t threaten me”;

    Ryan’s second bit of “gun” play. Wonder if that will come back to bite him;

    The conversation behind the bin, although a bit spelly-outy for me with a lot of miles on the clock, was probably worth spelling out for younger viewers;

    The console’s crystal thingy goes up and down;

    The Doctor’s casual “Just want to check something” as she sabotaged the Nazi’s kit without him noticing;

    Speaking of whom, half expected him to be a time cop, a la Captain Jack’s cover story, but nice they went WAY dark;


    1 is being generous unless you are referring to penis length in millimetres

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    I might be reading too much into it, but I noticed when 13 said it had taken nine tries so far, and Graham said it was fourteen – and this is the fourteenth Doctor, if we include the War Doctor…


    Oh, and the Banksy gag.

    And a baddie who is not not an alien doing it for bizarre alien reasons, but a Nazi doing it for Nazi reasons.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    I was quite please, with Ryan, to see other indicators of dyspraxia – he’s clearly intelligent, but jumbling facts learned in history at school and getting confused with the Doctor’s introduction of a flow of new words (but also being able to understand how to operate the back in time thingy).

    This was a perfect setting for some lovely callbacks to Grace, I like that we only just got to meet her, but can get to know her through the memories of her husband and grandson. I loved Graham insistently using the words ‘grandson’, ‘grandfather’, not, this time, because he’d like and his wife wanted Ryan to use the words, but with absolute protective pride in the relationship.

    It did at times feel as though Yaz’s function in this story was to be a person who isn’t white explaining the history of the civil rights movement to Ryan. But I liked her time talking to Rosa (she’s very Rory, Yaz, good at relating to and caring about other people), and the moment of confusion on the bus, wondering where she was going to sit was very good, she seems well informed enough to understand about ‘passing’, and she gave a sense of realising that she practically doesn’t exist in this world (as in, this time and place), feeling slightly cut off from history at a key point in a fight that has great significance for her.

    Rob @rob

    Had to Google that comment made by a complete arse, ‘nough said.

    Superb episode

    I thought that Graham was going to end up having to drive the bus. His reaction to the realisation that he was one of the white passengers (if not the passenger) that meant Rosa would have to give her seat up for was brilliant.

    Ryan’s vanquishing/vanishing of Krasco ( who was pretty crass) to the earliest setting was just deserts and arguably non violent

    Yasmin’s talk with Rosa surely assisted her with her world changing action


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @rob, I was convinced that Graham would be driving the bus, and The Doctor would have to demand her seat.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    So, Cranzo, are we seeing him again at another point in time? I’m tempted to think so, mostly because I’d think if The Doctor knew Ryan could have sent him back somewhere it would mean instant death, she’d have made a comment about what he did. But he said ‘as far back as I could’ I think, and she’d probably know when that is.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Well, that was great. Instant classic possibly. Certainly going to go down as one of the important episodes of Who. It definitely made me feel quite emotional at points and Vinette Robinson was just amazing. That’s surely one of the great guest performances in the show. However, it didn’t quite manage to completely avoid the preachy aspect and I could have lived without the closing monologue which wasn’t really dramatically necessary. Although if it jolts da kids into further research of Rosa and her legacy then I can live with it.

    Blackman’s script was tight apart from that and I’d love to see her write more for the series. I did like that the SF elements were pretty low key and gave it an almost Hartnell historical vibe, or certainly the least SF-inflected historical story since Black Orchid maybe. Krasko, the time-travelling alt-righter is an interesting concept and I suspect that @bluesqueakpip might be onto something when we might get a multiple villain pile-up at the end of the series. But rather like Tim Shaw, I found the performance itself a bit weak. I’d have liked him to have been a bit more imposing than Mark Beale with a vortex manipulator.

    On the general TARDIS front (ugh, I hate that interior. For something that’s bigger on the inside it looks like you’d struggle to swing a cat in it), there’s still a few niggles. Graham and Ryan are really gelling but again Yas still seems to be struggling for something to do. A Doc +3 team is just too big I think and while it looks like Yas is going to get more to do next week, I’m guessing that just means that someone else will be left spinning their wheels. (Though I strongly suspect this is all temporary until Graham bites the dust and the core team will be Doc, Ryan and Yas.)

    As to Whittaker’s Doc, I’m still not feeling it. Still early days, I guess, but I’m starting to resign myself to her just not being one of ‘my’ docs. Delighted to watch her in action but she’s not graduated past the Davison/McCoy nexus for me yet. Quite brave of them to have Krasko grab her by the throat though. I wonder if we’d have seen that with a male Doc. It’s interesting that they addressed the difference in physicality but frankly I’m thinking it’s not something I want to see happen again really. We’re not presumably always going to have the Doctor facing villains who are technologically hampered from violence in some way and the implicit threat of physical violence ideally shouldn’t be there anymore than it would have been against Troughton or Smith, or any other male Doctor.

    Interesting also that she goes along with the blending in and putting up with segregation route. That was almost Hartnell-esque too. Hard to imagine that 12 would have done the same and this makes it seem like a story that could only have been for Whittaker’s Doc.

    Aside from the niggles, this was a great story and so far Chibnall has been producing sparkling, utterly fresh-feeling Who that’s way surpassed my expectations.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Bloody hell, I remember the old days, we had proper trolls back then

    Indeed we did, and real rickety-rackety bridges for them to live under 😉

    Back in the old days BG I was generally not so keen on the episodes with a historical setting because the errors, however minor, tended to bother me.  Not here, although the narrative didn’t entirely accord with what I have read, which is that Rosa Parks’ protest was planned and could have taken place at any time the opportunity arose. Whether or not that is true doesn’t really matter, because either way it makes for a pretty powerful narrative and this episode did justice to it, I feel. The emphasis on the repercussions of even the smallest intervention in history was a welcome reminder, but I remain a trifle worried about what the baddy could still achieve from whatever time he was zapped back to, even if it was to the Jurassic or the primeval ooze. I seem to remember several short stories on that theme written way back in the 1950s and early 60s.

    Insofar as I have any criticism, it is that the narrative did occasionally verge on the obviously didactic and there were a few hiccups in the script, but I’m not sure how far the former is a significant failing since so many viewers will, like Ryan, only know it as history. Even Ryan, for whom it had particular resonance, had to be faced with the reality of life in Alabama in the mid 1950s to fully understand.

    I was glad to see that team work featured again, even more to so than in the previous episode, with the Doctor directing operations and everyone assigned their tasks, and it looks as if this is going to be one of the signatures of the coming season.

    The Doctor as Banksy? It would make sense, but in which iteration? She hasn’t had any time on her own since her regeneration to fit all that in.

    I feel the urge to watch it again, which must be a good sign


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @jimthefish good point about the segregation – Capaldi gave Bill a whole speech about keeping calm in the face of racism etc, then punched the racist in the face. What was interesting in this episode was a sense of the white characters facing moments of going along with the racism. Graham in the bar with the bus driver, both of them on the bus. I got a greater sense of discomfort from Graham, but I think that’s natural. It involves Ryan, it relates to his late wife.

    But you’re right, I’m not sure I can picture 9, 10, 11, or 12 taking it so quietly. But then again, despite having several episodes taking BAME companions back in time, the only episode I can think of that spent any real time on racism is ‘Human Nature/The Family of Blood’, especially when poor sweet John Smith being unthinkingly racist. The prevarication ‘I don’t recognise anyone of that description’ ‘We’re not hiding anyone who doesn’t have a right to be here’ was clever and uncomfortable. Thinking of Ryans comment when Graham said he wished Grace was there ‘I don’t, she’d start a riot’, I wonder if this would have been a good occasion for the Doctor to have given a quick speech about ‘fixed moments in time’ how this was not a time that should be messed around with. I find myself understanding the Doctor’s motivation, but loving the idea of the fire and wrath of Grace, had she been able to be there.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @bluesqueakpip “Is there a racism theme developing?”

    I’d love that as an underlying theme, because Doctor Who at inception was strongly influenced by post-Nazism. And here we are, 70 years since the last time Europe made the mistake of entertaining fascism, watching it rear its ugly head all over again. It’s the perfect time for Who to tackle racism across the universe.

    As we know,  the Daleks are essentially space Nazis. And the Cybermen and Sonatarans too are “racial purity” types.

    Of course, the Doctor has encountered all sorts of species-ism along the way, starting with her own people, who were very stuffy about all those they saw as “less developed” than themselves.

    Nu Who has dealt with a more earth-bound racism previously too. Martha had to deal with Joan Redfern in Human Nature/Family of Blood, being unable to believe that she, a black maid, was in fact a doctor. The Zygon Invasion/Zygon Inversion two-parter tackled racial conflict and racism (human and Zygon purists vs human and Zygon assimilationists, with the two Osgoods symbolising the best of the latter).

    It’s also worth thinking about this episode Rosa and the first episode of Nu Who, Rose together, as part of the Doctor’s own arc regarding race and war.

    Then (Rose) the Doctor was running from his role in the Time War, in which he had been willing to countenance the genocide of both the Daleks and his own people. He was immediately confronted by the backwash of his war participation, as the Nestene Consciousness was only trying to turn the Earth plastic, because it blamed the Time Lords for the destruction of its own planet during the Time War. Rose Tyler became the Doctor’s escape, his solace, a young Earthling in whose company he could bury some of his grief and guilt. That often put an unfair burden on Rose. I mean, taking her to watch the destruction of earth for her first trip (The End of the World) because the Doctor wanted some other being to feel, just a taste, of the enormity of the grief he was feeling re Gallifrey – that was dark.

    Now, the Doctor, having been through penance, atonement, and some timey-wimey Gallifrey-saving etc., is here (Rosa) with a re-sharpened consciousness that “purity” narratives (including those of the Daleks and the Time Lords) lead inexorably to violence and need to be combatted everywhere.  WhitDoc (I like it) is ready to take on that fight, not as that antithesis, the War Doctor, but, like Rosa as a grassroots resister, one small, important, action at a time.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    The console’s crystal thingy goes up and down;

    According to the article in the Radio Times, it’s supposed to be a Time Crystal and a main power source. Not sure where that leaves the Eye of Harmony, but the Tardis has renewed herself and maybe there was a bit more involved than refurbishment and redecoration.


    Vinette Robinson was just amazing.

    She certainly was. Absolutely perfect in the role.

    I hate that interior. For something that’s bigger on the inside it looks like you’d struggle to swing a cat in it

    You said it. The original Tardis interior was small – possibly smaller than this – but there was nevertheless a sense of space. The feeling of this, with the looming crystalline arches hemming in the console and the dark walls seeming to crowd in around it, has an overwhelmingly claustrophobic effect (to me, anyway).


    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @miapatrick sorry – see you mentioned Family of Blood above before me. I was composing my post and didn’t see yours ’til after!

    And @jimthefish and @miapatrick I’d forgotten about Bill and CapDoc’s encounters with Victorian racism and the Doctor’s punch in Thin Ice. Good point. I think though, that CapDoc was probably free to do some racist-punching then because that wasn’t, unlike the Rosa Parks situation, a pivot point in history.

    Here, WhitDoc was behaving (in a rather traditional Time Lord manner) as a custodian of time.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Capaldi gave Bill a whole speech about keeping calm

    I think he would certainly have been unable to resist the temptation for a speech if that had been a 12 and Bill story. I do often like to wonder what certain stories would have been like in ‘what if’ scenarios. (I.e. what s5 would have been like if Tennant had stayed, for example) and this is definitely one of those stories I’ll always idly ponder with other Doctors.


    @jimthefish @juniperfish

    Worth noting the role of the cop in this. It wasn’t just a grace note . He tailed them and his in-story purpose was to lampshade that racism here wasn’t just a social attitude (as could be argued for Victorian London as witnessed by 12) but state policy in a democracy. Montgomery was a very dangerous place because the state made it so. So running to authority was not an option, and fronting it up downright perilous.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Yeah, that’s a really good point. The episode in general did a really good job of conveying that sense of constant implacable oppression.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @juniperfish, snap! and quite, which is why my initial ‘you what’ about her ‘tread carefully, history is delicate’ comment turned to a little frustration that she hadn’t talked about important points in time. If she’d taken them out of the Tardis knowing when and where they were, knowing this was an important time event, it would have tied together a little better. As it is, we’ve had a few years of companions being told sarcastically not to stand on butterflies, and suddenly they have to watch their step. 13 is being quite traditional, in fact this is almost a scenario you could imagine the other Time Lords approving of interference in. Which is a little disquieting.

    @jimthefish interesting, I agree, 12 was much more protective of Bill. It could be because he was male and she was female, and 13 is female and Ryan is male. More probably, Ryan has Graham, he’s got his grandad there, the Doctor isn’t locked into a relationship with a primary, female companion. I think, idly pondering, if it was 12 and Ryan, he’d probably throw a punch.

    It is an interesting change from 10 and 13 causally leading black characters into Elizabethan and Victorian times and telling them not to worry (and the snag 13 hit was a genuinely awful person in every way) and 13 in particular going into different times and finding black characters in unexpected, if not historically impossible, places. I have no problem with these stories, but this episode was something else.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @rob and @miapatrick I also thought Graham was going to drive the bus.  His utter despair standing there at the end was gut wrenching.  And Ryan, such a good hearted kid, being spoken to like that…. my heart hurt. I cried multiple times during this one.

    I am really enjoying the humanity of these episodes.


    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @jimthefish and @pedant

    I watched In the Heat of the Night (1967) recently, starring Sydney Poitier, and Malorie Blackman’s episode really reminded me of that movie – the same hard-hitting (more so in fact) claustrophobic and dangerous climate of police-sanctioned racism.

    I’m betting Blackman had that film in mind as one of her influences.

    Poitier’s character, who is a black cop from the North, gets involved in a murder case down in Mississippi, and he does punch a white man in the movie, for insulting him and calling him “boy”. And apparently, movie audiences at the time would audibly gasp at this point, to see such radical defiance.

    NB on my point above about Rose vs Rosa, the TARDIS is really the Doctor’s carer as well as companion half the time, and in both those instances, I reckon, took the Doctor where s(he) needed to be from a hearts-healing/ moral compass perspective.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @pedant important point, really, (and not to downplay the historical racism in this country) in this country the fight was against people and businesses being allowed to discriminate against people of different ethnicity. Historically, legal restrictions I think only applied to people who didn’t belong to the church of England, that referred to professions originally and eventually engagement in politics, and that ended (leaving the head of state to one side) before the 20th century. Obviously I’m talking about within the UK, not the British Empire. Which does make a difference. Martha and Bill had to deal with racism, but in a form that arguments and bluster could make a difference. (really, once again, not letting our racist history off the hook).



    Being unusual (in very few cases impossible) is one thing. Being in the midst of state-sponsored racism is quite another.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    WhitDoc (I like it) is ready to take on that fight, not as that antithesis, the War Doctor, but, like Rosa as a grassroots resister, one small, important, action at a time.

    You have expressed it perfectly. And just as small interventions by a time traveller could divert the course of history, we are shown, from the perspective of a time traveller, such as we in a sense are looking back,  how small actions at the right time can have a huge impact down the line. Another valuable point made here was that, however significant that small action was, we still have a long way to go.

    Your point about earth-bound racism as previously addressed in Doctor Who is interesting. These stories have previously, I think, always been set in the Britain where, even though racism has been endemic to some degree since the 17th century at least, chattel slavery on British soil was never recognised in common law and racism was never  institutionalised in the way that it was under the ‘Jim Crow’ laws of the southern USA. This, I think, may have made us in the UK somewhat complacent, and this episode offers an important perspective

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @pedant Quite, Martha and Bill stood out a little, Bill possibly less than she really would have, Ryan is in genuine peril. It’s a stark difference. ( A black woman literally just had to change her seat on an airplane because a white man didn’t want to sit next to him. But at least the conversation is about how he ought to have been arrested, rather than that she should have been.)



    but I remain a trifle worried about what the baddy could still achieve from whatever time he was zapped back to, even if it was to the Jurassic or the primeval ooze. I seem to remember several short stories on that theme written way back in the 1950s and early 60s.

    He would last a few seconds. Boiling hot and no breathable atmosphere. All those short stories just didn’t have up-to-date science (I can introduce to a Nobel Laureate who is studying this very topic…).

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @miapatrick @juniperfish @pedant et al

    Just on the Doc’s historical approach to racism, watched the first two episodes of Tomb of the Cybermen recently and it’s a story where it’s getting increasingly difficult not to ignore its racism, or just how little the Doctor seems to be troubled by it….

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I didn’t say he would survive 🙂  The DNA of his carcase landing in the ooze could kick start a chain of evolution or, alternatively, if he landed a billion or so years later he might land on a critical insect, or give a significant therapod terminal indigestion.   Or not.  I tend to the belief that if there are time travellers and they have intervened in the past, then the intervention is a part of history and we are the result, so no change 😈



    It wouldn’t just be non-survival. He would be rendered down to his constituent molecules toot-suite. DNA is not that robust and even if it were, a gene is just a gene but not even that if it is just an unordered gloop of nucleotides. And there would be 5 great extinctions to sort out any residual issues…

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Picky picky!  I wasn’t thinking *that* far back, and in any case I wasn’t expecting anyone to take me seriously 🙂

    RorySmith @rorysmith

    I think to round out the race, gender, orientation of companions being exploited; they should end up on a “Logan’s Run” world where Graham is not supposed to be alive at his age.

    Also, living in the US South today is refreshingly more open. Unfortunately there are a few bad seeds but we are often judged by them or those in the past. Strangely, I feel discrimination where I am now in a Northern state just because of my Southern accent.

    This story is a slice of how we as a people have found ways to divide ourselves and the amazing people that fight to bring us back as one.

    Notime @notime

    As a proud owner of a fully restored 1955 Bel Air, I was excited to see a nice example on screen.


    Joy soon changed to terror when you realize the travelers are in 1950s South.

    Lots of work do do still.

    Most terrifying episode I have ever seen.

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    This episode clearly wasn’t action packed. That didn’t stop it being good viewing by any means. In particular, I felt the characterisation for all three companions took leaps forward. I particularly appreciated Graham’s reaction upon being forced to play a central role and stand on the wrong side of history without being able to act. Apart from his personal discomfort, he may have felt in some way that to do what he did was a betrayal of Grace, even if he was doing it for the right reasons.

    It is still surreal to me that there were people in America acting like this at a time period that isn’t really that far removed from today. Sure, the episode got close to preachy. For me, this is something that I’m prepared to be preached to about though. The music towards the end got a little much for me, but for some I’m sure that to some it was a highlight.

    While I’m really glad there’s a place in Doctor Who for an episode like this personally, I’m deliberately trying to take a step back and see whether the new season will appeal to new viewers, since I think it may have drawn in more than normal with a change in Doctor, particularly once that’s gotten a little more attention than most. Three rather different episodes so far and I’m unsure. Perhaps mixing it up is a good thing? It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s particularly targeted at a younger audience.

    I agree with the comments that previous Doctors, especially PC’s Doctor would have struggled to take the actions (and inactions) that the Doctor did here. Sitting down, shutting up, and not getting involved aren’t characteristics I’d associate with the Doctor, even if that’s the right thing to do. To do things differently to previous Doctor’s isn’t a bad thing though- a touch more pragmatism might keep her out of trouble at times.

    I’d have liked to see the Doctor do a little more to blend in. Her mode of dress would have raised eyebrows in the 50s. I guess she hasn’t shown more than sporadic interest in prior incarnations in blending in, but I would have thought that newfound pragmatism might have warranted that. I don’t think it’s essential that the Doctor wear the same outfit constantly in any case.

    I tend to think that if Rosa Parks hadn’t acted on that day, she or someone else would have soon afterwards. Some ideas just have their time and the boycott that followed showed that people were looking for a catalyst to get change started- the fact that Martin Luther King was present should indicate that pretty clearly. That isn’t intended to diminish Rosa Parks in any way, but I’m doubtful that a few little changes on that day would really have done a whole lot to history in the broad.

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @pedant @mudlark

    The time displacement device appears to have been capable of sending people forward to the 85th century, from memory. If its ability to send people backwards is similar, then Krasko could have ended up around 6000 BCE. At that time, the American continent was populated solely by native Americans. Krasko would have found himself very much out of place and likely subject to xenophobia, at least that’s how I like to imagine it 🙂 In principle, the Doctor could also nip back and pick him up, if she felt the need. I don’t think it was a fatal displacement to a primordial soup.


    Just on the Doc’s historical approach to racism, watched the first two episodes of Tomb of the Cybermen recently and it’s a story where it’s getting increasingly difficult not to ignore its racism, or just how little the Doctor seems to be troubled by it

    I think as fans, we should accept that there are elements of the First Doctor’s character that are products of the time that the series was being produced, and allow those to be retconned away in terms of the canon of what the Doctor’s character was like. I think that’s preferable to having to contort to explain how the First Doctor could have acted in ways that by any modern standards would appear casually racist and chauvinist. When we watch an episode from that time, we learn about that time, not about the Doctor.

    misterhoo @misterhoo

    Anyone else get a Quantum Leap vibe from this episode?  Making right what once went wrong.  That would make Krasco the evil leaper.

    Arch @arch

    Fantastic. Such a powerful story about such an important part of history. The acting was excellent and the script likewise.

    I usually like my sci fi separated from real life events, but this was done perfectly. I’m glad they didn’t play down what a horrible racist, society 50s America was.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m still struggling to connect the dots on why he was trying to stop an event on earth in the 50s but I’ll rewatch and I’m sure my brain will come up with something. I’m not ashamed to admit my eyes certainly got watery in those closing scenes and I don’t tear up easily. A credit to the writing and acting, It made me feel, it’s a very soecial gift. Thank you.</p>

    syzygy @thane16

    “We don’t serve negroes”

    Good, because I don’t eat them. I lost it!

    Did 69 pages on Emmett Till in an assignment. Grade school. Harder than university. Teacher didn’t know the name. Fortunately she knew Rosa Parks.

    Emmett was 14 when lynched. Mister Willie Lynch (lynching) in The Making of a Slave.  Big respect for Chris Chibnall handling a difficult period perfectly. Sadly I don’t think The Civil Rights Movement can ever be over.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    The time displacement device appears to have been capable of sending people forward to the 85th century, from memory. If its ability to send people backwards is similar, then Krasko could have ended up around 6000 BCE.

    That detail hadn’t fully registered yesterday evening but, despite my flippant comment above*, I was assuming that he would most probably arrive some time within human history or prehistory, and the chance that he would end up at a time and location where he was in a position to influence a crucial event would, in reality, be almost vanishingly small.

    I’m not convinced that if he found himself in North America c.6000 BCE he would necessarily face xenophobia. One man, unarmed and outlandishly dressed might just as easily be seen as an object of curiosity, and his fate would then depend on how he responded.  The initial reactions of various indigenous inhabitants to the arrival of European settlers was mixed, after all.  Who knows, finding himself suddenly in a minority of one might teach the racist Krasko a sharp and salutary lesson.


    * Note to self: on the internet no-one can see the position of your tongue, even if your cheek is bulging.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    Sadly I don’t think The Civil Rights Movement can ever be over.

    Certainly not yet, anyway, and in some respects it can seem as if things are slipping backwards. The current, blatantly partisan attempts in some States to remove black and latinx voters from the electoral rolls, on the slightest pretext or none, is on depressing sign, even viewed from this side of the pond. This episode could scarcely have been more timely.

    MissRori @missrori

    I was nervous going into this one, but this is the best Thirteen story so far.  It managed to be respectful, heartfelt, truly suspenseful, and surprisingly a great deal of fun as well — rather like “Thin Ice”, which was also the third episode of its season oddly enough.

    While I’m still waiting for an episode that can allow Yaz to truly have the spotlight, she was well-used in this one, and I liked the small steps for Graham and Ryan’s relationship too.  Also, how neat is it to see Graham’s ex-bus driver cred come into play again?

    Thirteen really shone, particularly in the extended confrontation with Krasko.  (Am I the only one who got an “evil Captain Jack” vibe from him, even before the vortex manipulator was revealed?)  She is one tough cookie!  And she got a lot of smiles and laughs from me too, both the little moments like clambering on the bed to write on the wall and bigger ones like the ruse to get the substitute driver out of the picture.  That’s what I like to see in my Doctors!  😀

    For those who don’t know co-writer Malorie Blackman previously wrote a pretty good Seventh Doctor/Ace short story for the 50th anniversary 11 Doctors, 11 Stories project, “The Ripple Effect”.   This makes her the second author who worked on that project to later work in the televised Whoniverse, as Patrick Ness (who wrote Class) contributed the Fifth Doctor/Nyssa story “Tip of the Tongue”.

    (Deposits $0.02)

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon


    Well, that was emotional.
    Watched it. Cried. Watched it again. Cried again.

    It was a bit of a mixed bag for me until about half-way in. Besides agreeing with points already made about the in-your-face preachy bits and exposition, I also thought the intel-gathering was maybe a bit overegged. (“Ryan, you fetch some bus timetables. Yas, you look up Parks in the phonebook, and I’ll see you back here after a slightly naff 20-second montage.”)

    At the same time, the pervasive, brutal oppression in Montgomery was depicted soo powerfully – and, for a family show, unflinchingly too. Completely eclipsed my niggles.

    Ryan and Yas’s scenes with Rosa were what got me really invested. What a fine actress Vinette Robinson is!

    And of course, the climax on the bus was just incredible. Beautifully done. That ever-so-subtle exchange of looks between Ryan and Rosa just broke me.

    This one’s in my top ten I reckon.


    Juniperfish @juniperfish


    Your point about earth-bound racism as previously addressed in Doctor Who is interesting. These stories have previously, I think, always been set in the Britain where, even though racism has been endemic to some degree since the 17th century at least, chattel slavery on British soil was never recognised in common law and racism was never  institutionalised in the way that it was under the ‘Jim Crow’ laws of the southern USA. This, I think, may have made us in the UK somewhat complacent, and this episode offers an important perspective.

    I’d actually love the same theme of racism to be tackled by the Doctor in contemporary Britain, but I imagine the howls of protest from corners of the British press might make the Beeb a bit leery.

    British racism is institutionalised too, but certainly differently from the US, as you say, because of different histories. However, we only have to look at the current Windrush scandal and the Grenfell tragedy, to understand that ethnic minorities are often treated with hostility and contempt by state powers and institutions in the UK, whether that be the Home Office or Kensington and Chelsea council.

    Daily Fail comments on Grenfell at the time it happened were truly shocking – instead of empathy (to be fair there was some) I saw a lot of comments such as, “Doesn’t even look like Britain.” I am as worried about the resurgence of fascism in Britain as I am about its resurgence in the US at the moment, and there are alarming connections, such as Steve Bannon hobnobbing with Boris Johnson and being invited to do an interview with a BBC journalist at an upcoming media event – grrrrr – (and all praise to Nicola Sturgeon for pulling out of the event as a result):

    Although Chibnall’s style as showrunner is, as many have said, markedly different from Moffat’s, and like others, there are elements of Moffat I do and will miss very much (e.g. his playfulness with time paradoxes), I feel quite excited by Chibnall’s understanding of the values the Doctor stands for, and how urgently and contemporaneously relevant they are, precisely as a beacon of light in the universe (re my earlier comments on WhitDoc’s T-shirt as a symbol of the refraction of light).

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Just had a thought from reading facebook comments about ‘how can there still be racism so far into the future’. And to be fair, much of AG Who has strongly implied that specific racism between different ethnicities of humans could have died out (unless someone is blue…). The idea of a white supremicist from the future is deeply depressing in the context of the episode, and this doesn’t mean it’s unlikely. But do we know he’s human?

    What if the ‘kind’ he’s referring to is humanity in general, and he’s not talking about black people ‘getting above themselves’ but the human race. About the human race in general acquiring a sense of the moral high ground, leading to the existence of super prisons and pesky laws against killing 2,000 people. Tops. Even if he is human, could he be talking about social justice, moral laws, and the significance of that moment in time was about the human race becoming better, starting to draw together in the modern world and the influence that had on history.

    On the one hand this could seem to dilute the message of the episode. But at the same time, what if the episode isn’t just about people moving towards equal rights, but about the improvement of the human race? Because Rosa Parks changed the universe. And in his eyes, helped good people ‘get above themselves’.

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