Preview – Roots

Programme Name: Roots - TX: 08/02/2017 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Kunta Kinte (MALACHI KIRBY) - (C) A+E - Photographer: Unknown

In 1977, the USA broadcast one of its greatest TV miniseries. Roots told a story that was still taboo at the time cover: slavery and the treatment of black people across American history. Remember that this was a time when racial segregation in the USA had only ended about a decade earlier.

Last year the series was remade in the states. Again, a rather appropriate time given the increasing racial tensions in the country, especially concerning police shootings. In this adaptation, Malachi Kirby stars in the role of Kunta Kinte, a West African tribesman who in 1767 is taken as a slave by the British and later purchased by Maryland tobacco baron John Walker (James Purefoy). The story covers not just Kinte, but also those of his descendants.

Certainly worth watching, not just to see how the remake compares to the original adaptation of Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, but also because it is also a rare reminder of one of the more disturbing periods of history.

Roots is on BBC Four at 21.00.