The producers: Lookout Point, Tiger Aspect, BBC America
The distributor: BBC Worldwide
Airing: BBC One (UK), BBC America
Concept: Police drama set in the aftermath of Jack the Ripper
There are numerous TV and movie projects about Jack the Ripper’s gruesome killing spree, but Ripper Street stands apart by being set six months after the serial killer’s last murder.
Lookout Point founder Simon Vaughan first imagined the series and approached writer Richard Warlow (Mistresses) before taking the idea to Endemol-owned producer Tiger Aspect.
“We all looked at how we could make something different to all of the other shows and books on the subject,” explains executive producer Will Gould. “We wanted to create something fresh and that would be internationally popular so we moved the action to six months after the last killing. But Jack is still on everyone’s radar, it will still be an open case for another year at the time the series is set and every episode relates to Jack the Ripper. It’s not a hunt the Jack the Ripper story, but he is very much part of the show.”
The action follows a team of policeman who, as members of the notorious H Division, had been involved with the Ripper case, with Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks) leading the cast alongside Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones) and Adam Rothenberg (Alcatraz).
“There is murder and mayhem and it is true to events of the times, but it’s never gratuitous, it doesn’t wallow in gruesomeness, it’s more about a group of men trying to make the world a better place, it’s seen through the policemen’s eyes,” Gould says. The cops tackle different aspects of criminality blighting the east end of Victorian London, including child gangs, terrorism and pornography. Dublin doubled as Whitechapel and the production was supported by the Irish Film Board. The show will be on BBC One in the UK and BBC cable channel BBC America in the US.
Gould says: “In the past Jack the Ripper has proved very sellable subject matter,” he says. Gould adds that the show has the potential to go to several seasons. “Because he was never caught, the case wasn’t closed until 1891, there is plenty more we could do and we have talked about a second or third series