Open main menu

Vinette Robinson (born 1981) is an English actress. Her TV roles include Sherlock, Black Mirror and Doctor Who as civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks in Series 11.

Vinette Robinson
Born1984 (age 34–35)
Years active1998–present


Vinette Robinson was born in Bradford.[1]


Robinson attended a child agency school and made her television debut in The Cops at the age of 17. Following this she spent three years at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was awarded a Laurence Olivier bursary from the Society of London Theatre.[2][3] She had a small role as the Jamaican girl in the 2004 film Vera Drake but was given an entire character backstory by the director Mike Leigh.[3]

Her first stage role was in the highly lauded National/Complicite production of Measure for Measure. Following this she was part of the Gunpowder season at the Royal Shakespeare Company where she played the tortured servant May in Rupert Goold's production of Speaking Like Magpies by Frank McGuinness. In 2006 she played Eve in an acclaimed production of Paradise Lost. Commenting on her nude scene, Sheila Tracy of The Stage wrote "one can not imagine the action working in any other way".[4] Her performance in Sugar Mummies that same year led New York to list her as one of "London's hottest young stage actors" in 2007.[5]

Following the conclusion of Sugar Mummies, she appeared in a short feature for Time Out, in which she and five other actors were described as "innovative young theatrical talent".[3]

In 2009, she played Josie Porritt in the BBC television series Hope Springs and appeared as newly qualified English teacher Helen Hopewell in eight episodes of Waterloo Road's fifth series. From December 2009 to January 2010, she starred as the maid Florence in the Hampstead Theatre's Darker Shores. In a Daily Telegraph review that rated the play only two stars, Charles Spencer commended Robinson's performance as having "a warmth and emotional openness".[6] Kate Bassett for the Independent on Sunday also praised her, writing that she "copes admirably".[7] In 2010, she starred as police sergeant Sally Donovan in the BBC series Sherlock, continuing her role in the second and third series that aired in January 2012 and December 2013/January 2014.

In 2011, Robinson appeared in Philip Ridley's Tender Napalm for which she received Best Female at The Offie Awards. She then went on to play Ophelia in The Young Vic's production of Hamlet for which she received the Clarence Derwent Award. Her role as Ophelia led to her being included in The New York Times Magazine article 'Titans Of The Stage'.

In 2016, she appeared in Hated in the Nation, an episode of the anthology series Black Mirror.

In October 2018, Robinson appeared in Doctor Who as civil rights campaigner, Rosa Parks.[8] It was her second appearance in Doctor Who, following her portrayal of the character Abi Lerner in the 2007 episode 42.[9]


Year Title Role Director Performance history
2004 Measure for Measure Juliet National Theatre
2005 A New Way to Please You Footman Royal Shakespeare Company
Sejanus: His Fall High Priestess
Thomas More Lady Roper
Speaking Like Magpies May
2006 Paradise Lost Eve Headlong
Sugar Mummies Naomi Royal Court Theatre
2008 War & Peace Hélène/Mlle Bourienne Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale National tour, 7 February – 11 May 2008
2009 Darker Shores Florence Kennedy Anthony Clarke Hampstead Theatre, 7 December 2009 – 16 January 2010
2011 Tender Napalm Unnamed female lead David Mercatali Southwark Playhouse
2011 Hamlet Ophelia Ian Rickson Young Vic, 28 October 2011 – 21 January 2012[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1998 The Cops Sarah Midgely 1 episode: Series 1, Episode 6 — Television debut
1999 Children's Ward Joy 1 episode: Series 11, Episode 11
Cold Feet Female Shop Assistant 1 episode: Series 2, Episode 2
2000 This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper Rita Rytka
Fat Friends Young Shop Assistant 1 episode: "Face the Fat"
Doctors Cath Bickerstaff 2 episodes: "In Deep" and "In Too Deep"
2003 Between the Sheets Tracy Ellis
2004 Murphy's Law Aimie 1 episode: "Jack's Back"
Blue Murder Andrea 1 episode: "Hit and Run"
Vera Drake Jamaican Girl Debut film role
Doctors Melanie 1 episode: "Daddy's Girl"
2005 Casualty Kirsty Evans 1 episode: "Truth Will Out"
Imagine Me & You Zine
2007 Party Animals Kerry 2 episodes: Episode 1 and Episode 4
Hustle Tina 1 episode: "A Designer's Paradise"
Doctor Who Abi Lerner 1 episode: "42"
Doctors Katie Waters 1 episode: "Hero"
2008 The Passion Mina
2009 Hope Springs Josie Porritt
Waterloo Road Helen Hopewell 8 episodes: Series 5 Episodes 1-8
2010 Powder Hannah Feature film
2010–14 Sherlock Sgt. Sally Donovan 4 Episodes: "A Study in Pink", "The Great Game", "The Reichenbach Fall" and "The Sign of Three"
2012 Beginning Claire Short film
2013 Vera Corrine Franks Series 3, Episode 1 "Castles in the Air"
2014 Death In Paradise Lauren Campese Series 3, Episode 3 "An Artistic Murder"
The Red Tent Bilhah 2 episodes
2016 The A Word Nicola Daniels
Black Mirror Liza Bahar Episode: "Hated in the Nation"
Morgan Dr. Brenda Finch
2018 Doctor Who Rosa Parks 1 episode: "Rosa"
2019 Frankie Sylvia
2019 A Christmas Carol Mary Crachit Miniseries

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role
2014 Dragon Age: Inquisition Sister Tanner (voice)


  1. ^ Lambert, Victoria (14 April 2016). "A-Word star Vinette Robinson: 'I wouldn't let someone darken my skin. This is who I am'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  2. ^ Staff (28 July 2002). "Lawrence (sic) Olivier bursaries". The British Theatre Guide. Retrieved on 19 November 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Staff (26 September 2006). "Theatre's bright young things". Time Out London. Retrieved on 19 November 2007
  4. ^ Tracy, Sheila (15 May 2006). "Reviews: Paradise Lost". The Stage.
  5. ^ Staff (26 March 2007). "A Guide to London's Hottest Young Stage Actors". New York (New York Media).
  6. ^ Spencer, Charles (9 December 2009). "Darker Shores at the Hampstead Theatre, review". the Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group).
  7. ^ Bassett, Kate (12 December 2009). "The colour of blood, the colour of money". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Doctor Who – Series 11 - Episode 3 Rosa". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  9. ^ "This week's big Doctor Who guest star has actually been in the series before". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  10. ^ Shenton, Mark (10 November 2011). "Hamlet". The Stage. Retrieved 23 December 2011.

External linksEdit