Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Ripper and the Whoniverse, Part 5 [Revised]

This post explores the most prolific references to Jack the Ripper in Doctor Who media, namely the three-part comic series, Ripper's Curse.
Released in early 2011 by IDW Publishing, and written by Tony Lee, this graphic novel offers another fictional interpretation of the infamous
Whitechapel Murders. Unlike Matrix, this story features many real-life people involved in the case. Here, the Eleventh Doctor must stop Jack's reign of terror.

PART ONE opens in the early hours of September 30th, 1888. A stranger offers to walk 'Long Liz' Stride home to Spitalfields. Sensing another customer, the prostitute agrees, and on reaching Berner Street she proffers a bag of "cashous" sweets [i], but
he suddenly stuns her with a nerve paralytic.
By 1 am, Liz lies dead, and as pedler Louis Diemschutz turns his cart into Dutfield's Yard
he makes a grim discovery. The killer has 
reverted to human form and flees just as the TARDIS materialises nearby. As the Doctor exits, his sonic screwdriver detects Kryon energy, which has pulled his ship to Earth. The police activity in the street attracts the travellers and the Doctor is asked to examine the murdered woman: "her throat was cut, she died instantly" 
he comments, and rushes off to confront the same stranger. The Doctor discovers
"a reptile in a shimmer suit" [ii] emitting "a lot of radiation.. from the Matrua Nebula." Meanwhile, Amy and Rory introduce themselves as Miss Marple [iii
and Inspector Clouseau [iv]of CSI London!
We then witness Sir Charles Warren being quizzed by Tom Bullen of the Central News Agency, about the Ripper and the 'Dear Boss' letter [v]. Warren declares the correspondence a hoax, then is informed of this victim's details: "Elizabeth Stride, aged 44, throat slashed, killler interrupted" [3]. She had been seen earlier by PC Smith, with a fair-haired man. Warren then reads Rory's identity from the psychic paper: he's the Earl of Leadworth, the actual inspiration for Doyle's Sherlock
Holmes! [vi]
Amy now realises the truth - this is "the night of the double murder" and they
must get to Mitre Square to save Catherine Eddowes [4]: "she's next!" 
Inspector Frederick Abberline now arrives and deduces that the killer is right-
handed, contrary to current opinion [vii].
Amy sees the alien Ripper as she enters the Square, but she's too late to prevent the next canonical murder, and is herself stunned by a dart to her neck. The Doctor appears just in time to save Amy by attacking the reptile's noise-sensitive
 "tympanic membranes" with his screwdriver. The police arrive and arrest the
Doctor at this new murder scene. Bullen announces, news-vendor style:
"Ripper captured!"

"Next: The Ripper's Gift"

 [i] Stride was reported to be clutching a packet of cachous (breath freshening lozenges) in her left hand, although other contemporary accounts replace these
with grapes.
[ii] Akin to the 'Shimmer' technology employed by the Vinvocci in The End of Time.
[iii] Agatha Christie's English spinster sleuth, Jane Marple, appeared in twelve crime novels and twenty short stories, and in many film, TV, radio, and stage versions
(she is also mentioned in The Unicorn and the Wasp by a tactless Donna: "Come
on Agatha, what would Miss Marple do?").
[iv] Bungling French detective, Jacques Clouseau, appeared in The Pink Panther
film series, and was played by Peter Sellers. It's telling that in comic-form, Rory
is still perceived as a bumbler, and given the guise of Clouseau.
[v] Inspector John Littlechild (1847-1923), who named American 'doctor' Francis Tumblety (1833-1903) as a Ripper suspect in 1913, also revealed that journalist Bullen (in fact, Thomas Bulling) and his editor, John Moore, were the true authors 
of the 'Dear Boss' letter.
[vi] Rory later presents himself (via the psychic paper) as a Dr. Joseph Bell-like figure, who actually inspired the uber-detective, Holmes. There is a long tradition
of Holmes Vs. the Ripper fiction, and Conan Doyle even theorised a 'Jill the Ripper' suspect - read Dr. Watson's account of the killings in Michael Dibdin's The Last Sherlock Holmes Story (1978), Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye (2009) and the 2011 ebook, Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes by Bernard Schaffer.
In Holmes & Watson: Madrid Days (a Spanish film of 2012), the duo pursued the
Ripper to Spain.
Doyle met Bell in 1877, and served as his clerk in Edinburgh. Their working relationship was the basis of Murder Rooms (BBC, 2000/01) and the first serial
even featured Dr. Thomas Cream (1850-1892), another candidate for Jack. Supposedly, Bell submitted the name of his Ripper suspect to the police, and
a week later the murders ceased. Doyle attended the Crimes Club walking tour
of the murder sites in 1905.
Doyle appeared in John Peel's Evolution (Virgin, 1994) and Revenge of the 
Judoon by Terrance Dicks (BBC, 2008), and he was even known to Redvers
Fenn-Cooper, (see Ghost Light).
[vii] Here, Rory compares (the real Inspector) Abberline to (the fictional one, played by) Johnny Depp, as seen in From Hell.

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