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Twitter erupts over Rosa Parks storyline in latest episode of Doctor Who

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Susan Devaney
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People have a lot of thoughts on the latest episode of Doctor Who, which focused on civil rights activist Rosa Parks. 

Having graced our small screens for decades now, it’s not surprising that a fair few historical figures – such as Charles Dickens and Hitler – have popped up in Doctor Who.

But last night’s episode was a little different when the Doctor and her sidekicks travelled back to Montgomery, Alabama in the Fifties to the meet civil rights activist Rosa Parks (Vinette Robinson).

The episode, which was co-written by Noughts and Crosses author Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, centered on the Doctor arriving in the city moments before Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. It was a defining moment in history which sparked the civil rights movement.

However, in this episode, a time-travelling white supremacist named Krasko (Josh Bowman) attempts to alter the course of history by changing small historic details to ensure the moment didn’t happen. Thankfully, Krasko fails in his mission due to the Doctor’s successful efforts to keep history on its original course.

Other historical figures who were instrumental in the civil rights movement – like Martin Luther King and Emmett Till – also make appearances in the hard-hitting episode. 

Doctor and her sidekicks travelled back in time to Montgomery, Alabama in the Fifties to the meet civil rights activist Rosa Parks (Vinette Robinson)

And the episode didn’t shy away from highlighting how prevalent racism still is today, with Ryan delivering the line: “It’s not like Rosa wipes out racism from the world forever. Otherwise, how come I get stopped way more by the police than my white mates?”

The episode has left some viewers calling the storytelling “powerful” and “emotional”.

The Doctor even commented at the end of the episode that Rosa, who died in 2005, not “only changed the world, she changed the universe” as she showed her companions an asteroid named after the activist.

Since airing, many fans have taken to Twitter to claim the episode as a triumph. 

And several people have likened the episode to the recent alleged racist incident that happened on a Ryanair flight involving two passengers. The incident, on a flight from Barcelona to Stansted on Friday (19 October), was recorded by a fellow passenger and shared on social media. Many people have criticised the airline for failing to properly intervene. 

Ryanair said it “will not tolerate unruly behaviour like this” and has subsequently reported the incident to Essex police.  

Doctor Who continues to air on Sundays on BBC One.

Images: BBC 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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