(January 9 2015 – Toronto, ON) Canada’s national broadcaster can be justifiably proud after reviewing the numbers from the first episode of the mini-series, The Book of Negroes. The six-part series, directed by Clement Virgo, debuted on CBC`s main network on Wednesday night and it attracted an audience of 1.7 million Canadians. It was the number-one program in prime time, beating out the usually popular People`s Choice Awards on Global at 9 p.m.
Based on author Lawrence Hill’s award-winning novel of the same name, the mini-series follows the harrowing journey of Aminata Diallo played by Aunjanue Ellis (pictured above), and her return home after being forced into slavery as a child.
In the premiere episode, eleven-year-old Aminata (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon) is abducted from her village in West Africa and forced to walk in a coffle – a string of slaves – for months until they reach the sea. After enduring a horrific ocean crossing, she`s put to work on an indigo plantation in South Carolina. Here, she survives by using midwifery skills learned at her mother’s side and drawing on the strength of character inherited from her parents. After a clandestine wedding to fellow slave Chekura Tyano (Lyriq Bent), the couple`s first baby is sold by her jealous slave master, Robinson Appleby (Greg Byrk).
In reviewing The Book of Negroes, the Toronto Star said, “Visually, the show is stunning, and Canadian director Clement Virgo’s painterly eye creates scenes of incredible beauty while telling an epic tale of inhumanity.”
The series continues on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on CBC until February 11, 2015.
Images from the CBC Production Book of Negroes. Used with Permission