161 Rosa

This is the one where the Doctor and her companions go back in time to stop a released prisoner from fulfilling his lifelong dream of stopping Rosa Parks from stopping sectionalism on busses. And in turn become part of the original timeline.

Live from Master Closet Studios, you’re listening to the only podcast on the internet that doesn’t want to be on this bus! It’s the Noobs and the Whovian! 

My name is Austin and I’m the Whovian, and these are my sons Corbin and Tripp and we’re the noobs! 

This is the podcast that introduces a whole new generation to Doctor Who by watching an episode each week and discussing it from the perspective of a dad who’s seen it before, and two sons who haven’t. 

Welcome to Episode 161 covering season 11 episode 3: Rosa.

Super-short Recap 

This is the one where the Doctor and her companions go back in time to stop a released prisoner from fulfilling his lifelong dream of stopping Rosa Parks from stopping sectionalism on busses. And in turn become part of the original timeline.

Production notes

  • Story #279
  • Originally aired October 21, 2018 to 8.37 million viewers
  • Written by: Malorie Blackman & Chris Chibnall
    • Malorie became the first person of color to write for the series, in broadcast order
    • The “broadcast order” distinction is there because in a few episodes we’ll meet the second person of color to write for the show, even though he was in the writer’s room before the airing of his episode.
  • Directed by: Mark Tonderai
    • We mentioned last week that he was the first black director in Doctor Who. So, even though it’s not his first episode, Rosa was written by the first non-white writer and directed by the first black director.

Misc Trivia

  • This was the first episode of Doctor Who to feature a song other than the theme over the closing credits.


  • Ryan Sinclair – Tosin Cole
    • Played Sol Levi in EastEnders
    • Neil Cooper in Hollyoaks Later
    • More importantly! He was Lieutenant Bastian in Stars Wars: The Force Awakens.
      • He was an x-wing pilot in Red Squadron and helped take down Starkiller Base
    • He’s also in pre-production for a remake of the 1990 Kid N Play classic House Party


  • Name of the episode spoken in dialogue?
    • Constantly, yes
  • Creature of the week
    • Krasko – a time-traveling racist psychopath from the 79th century!
    • Stormcage – he was in the same prison as River
    • Why didn’t she just stuff him in the police box?! You don’t have to kill him, but he was unarmed! Get him out of there!
    • Why was he a racist?
    • His plan sucked
  • Jiggery Pokery
    • TARDIS 
      • 14 attempts at getting from Desolation to Sheffield and she’s “pretty close”… Alabama
        • So, we had episode 1 where the Doctor meets the companions and has an adventure in the hometown cuz the threat is THERE. Then episode 2 involves the Doctor accidentally bringing them along and desperately trying to get them home. Now, episode 3 is them ending up in the “wrong place & time” and having a look around at what’s giving off artron energy. Presumably at the end of this episode, she’s gonna try again to get them back to 2018 Sheffield.
      • Second hand, huge mileage, one careless owner
      • It picked up on the artron energy and the vortex manipulator and brought them here
        • So, what did they miss on the other 13 attempts
    • Sonic
      • Corbin wishes it were purple crystals… 
    • Psychic paper
    • Random 
  • Name Dropping
    • Don’t ever tell anyone I lent Elvis a mobile phone!
    • And then he lent it to Frank Sinatra!

Other stuff we noticed 

  • Tell me you’re in America without TELLING me you’re in America
    • Gospel music? Check
    • Stars and stripes prominently placed in the opening shot? Check
  • Carefully, history is delicate…
    • Yeah, but is it?!

 Who’s Who?

  • Who is Ryan Sinclair?
  • Who is Graham O’Brien?
    • He’s REALLY worried about lunch
    • Left hanging on the fist bump
    • He did NOT want any part of this situation on the bus, but he had to stay to make sure it happened
  • Who is Yasmin “Yaz” Khan?
    • She’s not Mexican
    • She is Pakistani and a practicing Muslim who faces discrimination because of both
    • She’ll park her South Asian Mexican backside in the white section and see what happens
  • Who is the Doctor?
    • She’s REALLY excited to open the mystery briefcase
    • She’s definitely NOT Banksy
    • She can’t get used to “ma’am”

Classic Who Connections

  • The TARDIS feeds on artron energy and this was first mentioned in the Fifth Doctor serial Four to Doomsday.
  • We saw the TARDIS show events from history. That used to need a machine called the Time-Space Visualizer as seen in the First Doctor serial The Chase.
  • In The Time Meddler the Second Doctor came across time travelers who tried to mess with time.
  • Past Doctors have not taken lightly to being called Doc, (especially one and six in Classic Who) but it would appear that the Thirteenth Doctor doesn’t mind it.

Overall impressions

  • Overall rating out of 10
    • Jared – 9 Time Traveling greasers
    • Austin – 9 broken down busses
    • Corbin – 7 really weird names
    • Tripp – 10 roast battles 
  • Creep Level – out of 500
    • Jared – 250
    • Austin – 10
    • Corbin – 10
    • Tripp – 60


  • Will they or won’t they?
    • Corbin – I hope not, but probably
    • Tripp – yes they will, but it’s gonna take 2-3 more episodes

The Game Plan 

Next week, we’re covering season 11 episode 4, Arachnids in the UK.


Noobs and the Whovian is a production of Master Closet Studios, where it’s always smaller on the inside. Your Senior Producer is Austin Reason. Our Audio Engineer is Thing One: Tripp Reason. Our Production Editor is the Other One: Corbin Reason. Special thanks to tardis.fandom.com for the trivia, and to Jared for the Classic Who Connection. Shout outs to Victor and Jared for their Patreon support.

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Until next time, be safe if you can. But always. Be. Amazing.