Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ripper Street Preview

I first wrote about this forthcoming BBC thriller way back in January (read here), which is now scheduled to begin transmission on Sunday, December 30th.

BBC One commissioned the new, eight-part period drama, Ripper Street in September 2011. Created by Richard Warlow, the series "is set in the East End of London in 1889, during the aftermath of the" Whitechapel Murders.
The original press release states that "the action centres around the notorious H Division - the police precinct from hell - which is charged with keeping order in the chaotic streets."
Produced by Tiger Aspect, the series "explores the lives of characters trying to recover from the Ripper's legacy, from crimes that have not only irretrievably altered their lives, but the very fabric of their city. At the drama's heart our detectives try to bring a little light into the dark world they inhabit." The programme's cast is led by Matthew Macfadyen (pictured) as real-life Inspector Edmund Reid, Jerome Flynn as Sergeant Bennett Drake, and Adam Rothenberg as Captain Homer Jackson. 

From it's inception in 1829, the Metropolitan Police was divided into seventeen districts for administrative purposes, and each was identified by a letter. 
 In 1888, H Division covered Whitechapel, and it's jurisdiction included three Ripper murder sites: Hanbury Street (Annie Chapman), Berner Street (Elizabeth Stride), and Miller's Court (Mary Kelly). The four police stations within the district where at Leman Street (the divisional HQ), Commercial Street (the area CID office), Arbour Square, and King David Lane. At the time, the Division was responsible for policing just 1 and a quarter square miles, but which housed some 67,000 poverty-stricken souls.
The officer in charge of detectives on the ground during the Whitechapel Murders, was Inspector Frederick Abberline (1843-1929) - he had worked in H Division from 1873-1887. 
Ripper Street features the actual Head of CID, Inspector Reid (1846-1917), who had led enquiries into the (non-canonical) murders of Emma Smith (in April 1888) and Martha Tabram (the following August). He retired in 1896, and later claimed that Frances Coles (killed in February 1891) had been Jack the Ripper's ninth, and final victim. 
Since 1965, H Division has covered Tower Hamlets.

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