Rumor: 13th Doctor to Meet Activist Rosa Parks

The Doctor has befriended everyone from Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie to Madame De Pompadour and Vincent Van Gogh.

But when the timey-wimey show returns later this year, the Thirteenth Time Lord may meet another historic figure: Rosa Parks.

The “First Lady of civil rights,” Parks made history on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to obey a Montgomery bus driver’s orders to give up her seat in the “colored section” to a white passenger.

Based on hastily snapped fan photos and rumored casting news, the “mother of the freedom movement” may guest star in the new season of Doctor Who.

Earlier this year, photos of a vehicle—strongly resembling the No. 2857 GM “old-look” transit bus Parks rode—were published online. According to Whovians, the replica was on set during filming. (Look closely and you’ll also spot a ’50s-style police car.)

The BBC did not respond to Geek’s request for comment. But new showrunner Chris Chibnall can’t be happy about the presumed leak.

In a reported effort to tighten on-set security, presumably to avoid prying eyes and possible spoilers, Chibs was eyeing a move to Manchester. There is no official word on whether the next series commenced filming in its hometown of Cardiff, or ventured north toward star Jodie Whittaker’s hood.

No matter, it sounds like the Beeb needs to upgrade its safety measures.

Those circulated smartphone shots only add fuel to the fire that is the Internet.

Some stalkers fans noticed that the Spotlight CV page for actor David Rubin included a role as “Raymond Parkes” in Doctor Who series 11. This, as Radio Times pointed out, could be a typo in reference to Raymond Parks, husband of the civil rights activist.

(When I checked, Rubin’s Spotlight resume ends at 2016’s Birds of a Feather. His IMDb page, however, lists him as “Raymond Parks” in episode three, among a small cast of characters that includes Mark Williams (not that Mark Williams) as “bus driver.”)

Add to that the unsubstantiated rumor that The Last Jedi actor Aki Omoshaybi will be playing Parks’ lawyer Fred Gray.

“Yes, both these characters’ names were misspelt and the roles have no been removed from the actors’ respective pages,” Radio Times noted. “But isn’t this too much evidence to ignore?”

It’s certainly not hard to believe that the first female Doctor will team up with some pretty inspirational women in her travels through all of space and time. Doctor Who does tend to pluck its historical figures from the British side of the pond. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an educational and empowering romp through American history.

Parks was by no means the first person to resist bus segregation: Women like Bayard Rustin, Irene Morgan, Lillie Mae Bradford, and Sarah Louise Keys tried in the years before her arrest. But the 42-year-old NAACP secretary became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.

A plaque reading “The Bus Stop” still stands at Dexter Avenue and Montgomery Street—the place Rosa Parks boarded the bus more than 60 years ago.

I had the honor of visiting that corner last year. And, like the rest of the South’s civil rights landmarks, it carries an energy and strength that, decades later, can be felt across the country.

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