Revelation Films has acquired worldwide rights to “I Am Norwell Roberts,” the autobiography of the U.K.’s first Black police officer, Norwell Roberts.
U.K.-based Revelation is initially developing a documentary feature with plans to expand into scripted, told against a backdrop of social and political events from each decade of his life and career. These events will be presented through a mixture of archive news, photography and music that defined the time with the aim of allowing the audience to better understand Norwell’s struggles and successes within a world that was often against him. The film will be set against the other momentous events in the U.K. Black community that coincided with the trajectory of his life.
Published by John Murray Press in June 2022, “I Am Norwell Roberts” hit the top 10 in the Amazon charts and tells the story of the Metropolitan Police’s first Black officer, joining the force in 1967. Norwell found out he had a new job the same way the rest of the country did – from a Daily Telegraph headline that read ‘MET TO HAVE FIRST COLOURED POLICEMAN.’
From that day on Roberts’ face became a symbol – of acceptance, of a diverse police force, of a changing Britain. Though he was turned into the poster boy for progressive policing, his day-to-day reality was anything but. His career culminated in being awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for his service in 1996, a year before his retirement. In 2016, he received the Legend Recognition Award at the CA Awards in honour of his dedication to the safety of the Black community and his determination to pave the way for the next generation.
Tony Carne, founder of Revelation Films, said: “The company was formed on the back of a now iconic film produced with the Terrence Higgins Trust [Higgins was one of the first people in the U.K. to die of an AIDS-related illness], 30 years on it seems appropriate to be developing another film about a British icon. It is one of the most inspiring stories we’ve had the honour to develop. Norwell has spent his entire life being ahead of the curve and his sheer perseverance has in no small part helped to see significant change in British society.”
“His focus and determination to simply be the best copper [policeman] he could be, in the most trying of circumstances, ploughed a furrow for the Met to become the much more racially diverse organisation it is today. In a time where we desperately need a new, more compassionate tone to converse, disagree and find common ground, Norwell exemplifies this spirit,” Carne added.
Coming up for Revelation is the third season of true crime hit “The Real Manhunter” for Sky Crime, and an exclusive three-year development deal with former Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton that sees two investigation true crime docs going into production – “Bellfield” and “West End Girls: The Search for a Serial Killer.”