|Created by||Richard Warlow|
|Written by||Richard Warlow|
|Theme music composer||Dominik Scherrer|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||24 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Greg Brenman
|Camera setup||Single-camera setup|
|Running time||58–60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Tiger Aspect Productions
|Original network||BBC One
Amazon Instant Video (Series 3-)
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||30 December 2012– present|
Ripper Street is a British TV series set in Whitechapel in the East End of London. It begins in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders. Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and Adam Rothenberg, the first episode was broadcast on 30 December 2012 during BBC One's Christmas schedule. It was first broadcast in the US on BBC America on 19 January 2013. Ripper Street returned for a second eight-part series on 28 October 2013.
On 4 December 2013, it was reported that series three would not be made due to low viewing figures for series two. Then on 11 December 2013, Variety reported negotiations between Tiger Aspect, the show's producer, and LOVEFiLM to fund future episodes, similar to Netflix's funding of episodes of Arrested Development. On 26 February 2014, it was confirmed that Amazon Prime Instant Video would resurrect the show. Filming began in May 2014. Series three began streaming on Amazon UK Prime Instant Video on 14 November 2014 but has not been made available on Amazon's US site. The third series began airing on BBC America on 29 April 2015, and on BBC One on 31 July 2015.
The series begins in April 1889, six months since the last Jack the Ripper killing, and in Whitechapel H Division is responsible for policing one and a quarter square miles of East London: a district with a population of 67,000 poor and dispossessed. The men of H Division had hunted the Ripper and failed to find him. When more women are murdered on the streets of Whitechapel, the police begin to wonder if the killer has returned.
Among the factories, rookeries, chop shops (food establishments), brothels and pubs, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) team up with former US Army surgeon and Pinkerton agent Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) to investigate the killings. They frequently cross paths with Tenter Street brothel madam Long Susan (MyAnna Buring), who came to London with Jackson from America and lets him reside at the brothel. Their relationship becomes strained due to Jackson's attraction to one of her most profitable girls, Rose Erskine (Charlene McKenna), and because of his close involvement with Reid and H Division.
Reid and his wife Emily (Amanda Hale) only have one daughter, Mathilda, who was lost and presumed deceased, some months before the series begins, in a river accident during the hunt for the Ripper. The newspaper reporter, Fred Best (David Dawson), knows a dark secret about her death. Although still troubled, and despite her husband's reservations, Emily is determined to make a new life for herself by helping the fallen women of Whitechapel.
Set in 1890, Emily, has left Reid after he gave her false hope that Mathilda might not have drowned. Rose Erskine has left Long Susan's brothel to work as a waitress at the music hall, Blewett's Theatre of Varieties. Sergeant Drake has married another of Susan's girls, Bella. A new detective constable, Albert Flight (Damien Molony) is introduced.
Reid crosses swords with the ruthless Inspector Jedediah Shine (Joseph Mawle). Ten years an Inspector on the Hong Kong police force, Shine has used that experience to exert a firm grip over Limehouse’s neighbouring "K" Division and the emergent Chinatown that grows within it. Long Susan, happy as brothel keeper, is in debt to Silas Duggan (Frank Harper), who lent her funds to start the business, unbeknownst to Jackson who wants to leave London.
Backdrops to episodes in series 2 include Chinese immigration, the London matchgirls strike of 1888, electrical War of Currents, the Cleveland Street scandal, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man and the Baring crisis.
In 1894, a train accident in Whitechapel kills fifty-five civilians. At the scene of the accident, Reid, Drake, Homer, Rose Erskine and Long Susan are reunited after a long period of separation. Reid investigates the derailment and discovers that it was caused by a heist. The organiser is Susan's solicitor, Ronald Capshaw. His intention is to steal US bearer bonds in order to bail out their financially stricken Obsidian Estates and to continue in their attempt to gentrify Whitechapel.
Mathilda is discovered by Capshaw to be still alive, although Reid is told by Susan that she has died since being rescued. Mathilda escapes and is picked up by Harry Ward, a teenage pimp. Receiving a tip-off where she was last seen, Reid and Bennett find her, but she runs away. Reid returns to his home and father and daughter reunite.
A joint BBC and BBC America production written by Richard Warlow, Julie Rutterford, Declan Croghan and Toby Finlay and directed by Andy Wilson (4 episodes), Colm McCarthy (2 episodes) and Tom Shankland (2 episodes). The series includes scenes of the seedier side of life during the late Victorian era, including bare-knuckle boxing, early pornography and prostitution.
Tom Shankland said of the series, "Whitechapel's not an area that was short of vicious murders and any woman found murdered with a knife in the consequent months was held up as a Ripper murder... So we’ll touch on Ripper in that way but not dig anybody up or change the canonical five... All the period depictions I’d seen of that particular crime story had almost been a bit too well behaved in a slightly slower way and shots have to be a bit wider to show off the nice furniture, but if you can think of something awful, it was happening [in Victorian London]."
The three leads of the show, Macfadyen, Flynn and Rothenberg, have discussed how they got the roles in interviews. Macfadyen claims his involvement was all down to his interest in the 'fresh' script: "I had a few months of nothing, then a load of scripts all came at once, and this was by far the best. It's such terrific writing; it just barrelled along. I saw the title and thought, 'This has been done before', but it was so fresh, and it had all the qualities, interest and depth of a period drama."
Rothenberg's involvement in the show was more straightforward, as he auditioned during pilot series. In an interview with both Flynn and Rothenberg, the latter states: "I auditioned for it, got it, and then showed up. That’s as simple as it was for me." to which Flynn chimes in, claiming: "it was very funny, though, ‘cause when he [Rothenberg] did show up, he was like, “I don’t know how the f*** I got here!". Flynn's casting experience was similar: "It was pretty basic for me. The writer, Richard Warlow, had seen me in Game of Thrones, playing Bronn, and asked about casting me."
The first series was filmed entirely in Dublin, Ireland, in locations that included the former Clancy Barracks beside Clancy Quay and Trinity College, Dublin. Macfadyen discussed the sets in Dublin in an interview with The Daily Mail, saying, "The barracks were like a big playground, big enough to recreate a huge area of Whitechapel, and we filmed in Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol, all as if it was the East End of London." The same article claims that "a second series [was] commissioned even before the first episode has been publicly screened".
- Matthew Macfadyen as Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, the head of East London's H Division. Reid is a workaholic driven by his failure to capture Jack the Ripper and the presumed death of Mathilda, his daughter. Deserted by his wife, Emily, Reid works most nights in his office at Leman Street.
- Jerome Flynn as Detective Inspector Bennet Drake, Reid's right-hand man. After his marriage to reformed prostitute Bella and returning from Manchester, where he had transferred after her death, he is a changed man.
- Adam Rothenberg as Captain Homer Jackson, a former US Army surgeon and Pinkerton agent. He is Reid's forensic expert. Jackson, who is devoted to Long Susan, a brothel madam, is really Matthew Judge, a fugitive. This has caused him to flee America. When his marriage to Susan breaks down, he reverts to being a drunken womaniser.
- MyAnna Buring – "Long' Susan Hart/Caitlin Swift Judge - Wife of Homer Jackson and daughter of a wealthy American industrialist. Susan owns a brothel in Tenter Street for much of the first and second series, though she later attempts to diversify and legitimize her businesses.
- Charlene McKenna – Rose Erskine
- Amanda Hale – Emily Reid (series 1) - Reid's wife. Their marriage is strained by the disappearance and presumed death of Mathilda, something which Emily blames her husband for, choosing to neglect her marriage in favour of charitable works. At the beginning of the third series it is revealed she has died.
- Jonathan Barnwell – Police Constable Dick Hobbs (series 1)
- Damien Molony – Detective Constable Albert Flight (series 2)
- Clive Russell – Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline
- David Wilmot – Sergeant Donald Artherton
- David Dawson – Fred Best
- Joseph Mawle – Detective Inspector Jedediah Shine (series 2)
- Gillian Saker – Bella Drake (series 2)
- John Heffernan – Ronald Capshaw (series 3)
- Louise Brealey – Dr. Amelia Frayn (series 3)
- Lydia Wilson – Hermione 'Mimi' Morton (series 3)
Critical reception of the first two episodes was divided, with many praising the show's gritty script and good acting performances whilst other critics felt the show was an unoriginal mix of ITV's Whitechapel and Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. Many agreed that the following episodes improved each time, due to the development of the three main characters and their back stories, setting up the rest of the series for a big climax.
In his weekly review of the show, Jamie-Lee Nardone wrote of its continued improvements, "more of this please, just perhaps not before dinner", referencing the show's gory nature.
Sam Wollaston of The Guardian discussed the pros and cons of the show, claiming "It would be easy to be negative about Ripper Street. Do we really need more on a story that's been not just done to death, but then carved up, and had its insides torn out?" but he concludes his review stating "[ the] script is real, alive and human. It's beautifully performed, and beautiful to look at – stylish, and stylised. The bare-knuckle fight scenes are brutal and memorable. It's proper, character-based crime drama, gripping, and yes – I'm afraid – ripping as well".
Benji Wilson of The Daily Telegraph reviewed the first episode positively, praising the performances of the three leads, which he said compensated for the "dull grind of all the exposition" and "tedious" historical references.
J.C. Maçek III of PopMatters reviewed the debut episode, remarking
writer/creator Richard Warlow and episode director Tom Shankland’s attention to the period details: streets are sooty, gaslight creates flickering shadows, and stone floors make footsteps seem chilling. These details help make Ripper Street a compelling procedural, its long form narrative and deliberate pace different from the CSI and Law & Order clones. But the show also bears traces of contemporary influences: an underground boxing club sequence in the first episode resembles similar scenes in Sherlock Holmes (2009) so much that a coincidence is hard to imagine. Equally derivative, some overt efforts to shock viewers deliver graphic violence and some nudity, courtesy of the evolving technology of photography, as it’s inspiring an evolving “smut” industry.
Ahead of its debut in the US, IGN's Roth Cornet reviewed the first episode, discussing how "the setting is handled with absolute care and a razor-sharp attention to detail, from costume and production design to the varied vocal cadences of the players, the texture and flavor of London's East End are brought to vivid life." The review continues to discuss the show's depiction of London's streets in the Victorian era:
Ripper Street provides a gritty look at the evolving streets of London and the advent of technology at the time; be it the "moving-picture-machine" that is featured in "I Need Light" or the introduction of early forensics that follows through the series. More interesting still is that it is the dirt and bones look at the uses of said technology that is in play here. This is no wink-wink "look at how charming early cameras were" depiction, but rather a portrayal of the underbelly of what those cameras would have been used for. Additionally, there is engaging interplay between those who would usher in necessary change and those who are, as Jackson says, "the barriers to progress."
Hollywood Reporter gave it significant praise "Ripper Street is a well-acted, well-written and compelling mystery series. And even better, there’s no waiting around, wishing it would improve. It’s alluring from the start." Los Angeles Times called it "Well-written and acted."
Some female critics have not been so positive about the show, disappointed by its two-dimensional portrayal of women as either repressed wives and mothers or prostitutes.
Jan Moir of the Daily Mail wrote that "the torture and murder of women" is "enthusiastically depicted", claiming "there is terrible violence meted out to men and children, too, but the focus of the viciousness is always on the knicker-dropping molls and the ‘tarts’".
Grace Dent of The Independent was more satirical about the show, but was still unamused by the portrayal of women, stating "centuries may shift and fashions may change, yet raping and murdering women has really never been as popular."
On May 13th 2015, it was announced that the show would be renewed for series 4 and 5. 
Series 1 was released on a region 2 (Europe) 3-disc DVD set and 3-disc BD on 18 March 2013, with the same DVDs being released in region 1 (Canada/US) on 12 March 2013.
The series 2 DVD-set, plus a 6-disc box set containing both series 1 & 2, was scheduled to be released on 27 January 2014, with region 1 DVDs of series 2 to be released on 15 April 2014.
- Sergeant Cork (1963–1968), a British detective television series (66 episodes) and police procedural which followed the efforts of two police officers and their battle against crime in Victorian London.
- Cribb (1979–1981), a British television detective series (14 episodes) police drama of a sergeant in the newly formed CID.
- Copper (2012–2013), a BBC America crime series set in 1860s New York during the American Civil War.
- Murdoch Mysteries (2008–), a Canadian detective series set in Victorian Toronto.
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- Ripper Street at BBC Programmes
- Ripper Street on the BBC America website
- Ripper Street on the BBC Media Centre website
- Ripper Street at the Internet Movie Database
- Richard Warlow, lead writer of Ripper Street, describes series origins, at BBC online blog
- Ripper Street visual effects breakdowns on YouTube
- Victorian slang – a guide