Story of UK’s First Black Police Officer Norwell Roberts Coming to the Big Screen

The story of the U.K.’s first Black police officer is coming to the big screen.

Variety reports in an exclusive report that Revelation Films has been given the rights to the autobiography of Norwell Roberts, titled I Am Norwell Roberts. The book, published last June, tells Roberts’ story of joining the Metropolitan Police force in 1967. He became a light of “acceptance” and was looked at as a “change” in Britain. It hit the top 10 on the Amazon charts.

In May 2022, the 76-year-old reminisced with the Daily Mail on how it wasn’t easy being the first Black police officer during those times. “I often find myself disagreeing with people who say Britain is as racist as ever,” Roberts said.

“Anyone who says that has no idea how bad it was to live as a black person in London back then.”

Revelation Films Founder Tony Carne says this film will be important, given the studio’s history. He is referring to its production of the movie about Terrence Higgins, one of the first people in the U.K. to die of an AIDS-related illness. Carne told Variety its only right to do another film based on a British icon.

“It is one of the most inspiring stories we’ve had the honor to develop.”

The film will be a documentary-style feature with plans on extending to script. For the audience to better understand his struggles, producers will use photos, music, and archived news. It will also highlight other key events in the U.K.’s Black community, foreshadowing things that occurred in his life and his 30-year career.

In an op-ed for the Daily Mail, the award-winning retired officer says he was “staggered” by some of the events that occurred during his career’s early stages but knows it could have been anyone.

“In spite of everything, I’m glad it was me.”

There’s been no announcement of the film’s release date.