The Radio Times logo

Roots

  • Season 1
  • 4 episodes
  • Drama
Advertisement

Episode 1: Roots

Summary

Remake of the 1977 dramatisation of Alex Haley's book, chronicling the saga of a young African slave sold in America, and the story of his descendants. In Juffure, West Africa, Kunta Kinte is kidnapped and sold to English slave traders, who transport shiploads of enslaved Africans to America. After an attempted rebellion on board the ship, Kunta is eventually brought to Maryland and purchased by tobacco baron John Waller. Starring Malachi Kirby and Forest Whitaker.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s one thing to know the facts of slavery, it’s another to see the human experience played out harrowingly in your living room. Which is why the original Roots series had such an impact. It was a landmark of the 1970s, a watershed in the public consciousness of what slavery meant. So why remake it now, many asked in 2017, when this big-budget version was announced. To which the best answer was, why not? It’s a chapter of history that bears – that needs – retelling.

The story opens with Kunta Kinte as a teenager in 1767 in the West African town of Juffure, where his father has a feud with a clan that trades slaves to the British. Kunta goes through his training as a Mandinka warrior but is then ambushed, abducted and shipped across the Atlantic in horrific conditions. The anguish and pain of this are portrayed so sharply that some scenes – a forced amputation, a vicious flogging – are almost unwatchably brutal. But we are very much caught up in Kunta Kinte’s story, all over again.

How to watch

Loading

Details

Formats
Colour

Credits

Cast

rolename
Kunta KinteMalachi Kirby
FiddlerForest Whitaker
Alex Haley/NarratorLaurence Fishburne
Omoro KinteBabs Olusanmokun
JinnaSimona Brown
Silla Da BibbaDerek Luke
KintangoChris Obi
John WallerJames Purefoy
Elizabeth WallerKatie McGuinness
ConnellyTony Curran
Dr. William WallerMatthew Goode
SamsonHakeem Kae-Kazim
SitafaKedar Williams-Stirling

Crew

rolename
DirectorPhillip Noyce
Executive producerMark Wolper
Executive producerMark Rosenthal
Executive producerMarc Toberoff
Executive producerWill Packer
Executive producerBarry Jossen
Executive producerLawrence Konner

All episodes

  • Episode 1

    Roots

    Summary

    Remake of the 1977 dramatisation of Alex Haley's book, chronicling the saga of a young African slave sold in America, and the story of his descendants. In Juffure, West Africa, Kunta Kinte is kidnapped and sold to English slave traders, who transport shiploads of enslaved Africans to America. After an attempted rebellion on board the ship, Kunta is eventually brought to Maryland and purchased by tobacco baron John Waller. Starring Malachi Kirby and Forest Whitaker.

    Review

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    It’s one thing to know the facts of slavery, it’s another to see the human experience played out harrowingly in your living room. Which is why the original Roots series had such an impact. It was a landmark of the 1970s, a watershed in the public consciousness of what slavery meant. So why remake it now, many asked in 2017, when this big-budget version was announced. To which the best answer was, why not? It’s a chapter of history that bears – that needs – retelling.

    The story opens with Kunta Kinte as a teenager in 1767 in the West African town of Juffure, where his father has a feud with a clan that trades slaves to the British. Kunta goes through his training as a Mandinka warrior but is then ambushed, abducted and shipped across the Atlantic in horrific conditions. The anguish and pain of this are portrayed so sharply that some scenes – a forced amputation, a vicious flogging – are almost unwatchably brutal. But we are very much caught up in Kunta Kinte’s story, all over again.

    How to watch

    Loading

    Details

    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Cast

    rolename
    Kunta KinteMalachi Kirby
    FiddlerForest Whitaker
    Alex Haley/NarratorLaurence Fishburne
    Omoro KinteBabs Olusanmokun
    JinnaSimona Brown
    Silla Da BibbaDerek Luke
    KintangoChris Obi
    John WallerJames Purefoy
    Elizabeth WallerKatie McGuinness
    ConnellyTony Curran
    Dr. William WallerMatthew Goode
    SamsonHakeem Kae-Kazim
    SitafaKedar Williams-Stirling

    Crew

    rolename
    DirectorPhillip Noyce
    Executive producerMark Wolper
    Executive producerMark Rosenthal
    Executive producerMarc Toberoff
    Executive producerWill Packer
    Executive producerBarry Jossen
    Executive producerLawrence Konner
Advertisement

RadioTimes.com is getting better. Fresh new look, redesigned programme hub, richer content…

FIND OUT MORE
Advertisement

Sponsored content