Rosa, the third episode of the most recent series of Doctor Who, was recognised at the inaugural Visionary Honours Awards last Friday night. At a ceremony hosted by actor and broadcaster Lenny Henry, Rosa was named ‘Television Show of the Year.’
The story is a dramatised account of the historic moment in 1955 when African American civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her stand in refusing to stand sparked a renewed push to end institutionalised racism in America and made Parks an icon. The episode, described by Boyd Hilton in Empire Online as ‘a big and unapologetically unsubtle history lesson about racism,’ drew mixed reviews last year, with many praising its positive, ‘thoughtful’ intent but others decrying its ‘clunky’ and heavy-handed polemic.
The episode was written by showrunner Chris Chibnall and former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman. Malorie published her first book, Not So Stupid! in 1990 and her TV credits include episodes of the seminal children’s drama Byker Grove, which was responsible, indeed some might say culpable, for the rise and rise of Ant and Dec. Since those days, Malorie has published several novels for young adults (most notably Noughts & Crosses in 2001) and has won the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Prize. In 2008, she was awarded an OBE for services to children’s literature and has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
The Visionary Honours are intended to be an annual celebration of the use of entertainment to pioneer social change. The awards made this year, as well as ‘Television Show of the Year,’ included ‘Community Person of the Year,’ ‘Most Inspiring Person of the Year,’ ‘Film of the Year,’ and ‘Documentary of the Year.’
Rosa is available to buy as part of the Doctor Who – The Complete Series 11 Blu-ray Steelbook.