“ ITV1 / British Drama „
I desperately wanted to watch a murder mystery recently and had seen all the films in this genre that I wanted to see. I purposefully went looking for something which I hadn't heard of and came across Whitechapel on Amazon. A drama originally released on ITV last year, this is now available on DVD.
Split into 3 parts of around 45 minutes for television viewing, it's just the right length for an enjoyable drama. There's tension, humour, suspense, a bit of gore and some historical info thrown in to create a very enoyable dark murder mystery.
When a fast tracking DI Chandler gets the DI position, he is not exactly greeted by his new team who have come across many like his type in their time, however a spurt of serious murders soon start to take place and DI Chandler wants to be involved, initially his tidy and domesticated ways and public schoolboy upbringing don't sit well with his colleagues and he is out of his depth but through his willingness to solve the mystery with the help of hardened Whitechapel DS Miles and a ripperologist who does Jack the Ripper Tours they start to make progress.
Can the modern day copycat Jack the Ripper be discovered? I thought this was a very clever little drama and by detailing the crime in the way they did, the most obvious of suspects managed to pass my attention! I have to say that the anorach behaviour of the ripperologist is done to perfection by Steve Pemberton!
I really enjoyed this mini series when it was shown on ITV1 a few weeks ago. It filled in that Monday night blues feeling.
The acting was really good - I usually like the dramas that Phil Davies stars in - he doesn't seem to be on our screens that often so I think he must pick his roles carefully. I had seen Rupert Penry-Jones in Spooks and had enjoyed his style of acting there also. I didn't see his version of the 39 steps over Christmas so not sure how he was in that. I did find that his character Joseph Chandler was played in a similar style to Adam in spooks.
The premise of the series is that there is a copy cat Ripper murderer on the loose in London, Chandler is a career policeman and is destined for very high things - he is given this case as it is believed to be a simple domestic issue that will dealt with quickly. However it soon dawns on Chandler that this is not the case.
There are loads of the usual police drama cliches in this series but Chandler trys to put these right - he gets them to clear desks and turn up in suits. The charcter has OCD but I don't think it really adds anything to the story other than the endless shot of him applying Tiger balm to his temples and re-arranging his desk.
The scariest character I felt was the ripperologist Edward Buchan, played by Steve Pemberton - those eyes are just frightening.
I won't spoil the conclusion for you just in case it is repeated or you see it on DVD but I was a bit disappointed with the ending it all seemed to be over too quickly - and whilst I wasn't happy with it - it did make sense.
This was a good drama for Monday nights, not sure if they will make any more - they did leave it so the majority of characters could return
Recently shown on ITV and advertised to much hype and shameless publicity, this latest in ITV's seemingly endless stable of crime dramas had much to live up to in recreating the murders of the infamous Jack The Ripper in modern day London. It starred Rupert Penry-Jones, formerly of Spooks fame and more recently seen in the modern remake of The 39 Steps, as DI Chandler; an up and coming officer whose promotion to head of the Ripper task force was seen by the big brass as a make or break career move for the young hopeful. A public school boy done good, Chandler at first finds it hard entering the ranks of Phil Davies detective team but gradually earns begrudging respect with his useful insights and his keen intuition even if he does suffer from an increasingly apparent strain of OCD. Another bone of contention occurs when Chandler enlists the aid of self-confessed Ripper expert and tour-guide, Edward Buchan played to good effect by Steve Pemberton. All the suspects in the case are based on real-life suspects at the actual time of the murders and, though many of the original crime scenes are no longer present in their previous form, the murders occur in locations as close to them in resemblence as can be managed in these modern times...
So does this modern take on an ancient crime that has become more legend than fact over time and remains one of the longest unsolved crimes ever recorded actually work? Yes and no. The murderer when revealed is a little disappointinmg but there is no denying the high amount of tension, suspense and chills that lead up to the inevitable resolution. Davies, Pemberton and Penry-Jones are outstanding in their roles ( Penry-Jones is fast becoming one to watch after his recent starring role in The 39 Steps- I missed him in Spooks which I only occasionally watch) and the script is tight and cleverly crafted. There is some blood and gore but less than you would find in a BBC crime drama a la Messiah. Basically, if you have ever been interested in the case of Jack The Ripper, I don't think you will be disappointed. This drama has a few faults but they are few and far between and this is actually one of the better dramas that ITV has shown. Lets hope they leave it as this though as I think a spin-off following the further exploits of the characters a la Prime Suspect or Messiah would be a mistake and do this one-off a mis-justice.
If you missed this when it was shown originally, look out for it being repeated some-time soon on one of ITV's digital channels or for it's inevitable release on DVD sometime very soon though it wouldn't be worth paying full price for unless you can find a deal somewhere.
In Whitechapel, London in 2008 a series of horrific murders occur which closely resemble those carried out by Jack the Ripper 120 years after the killer first struck in 1888. Despite DNA and CCTV the crimes are recreated with an alarming accuracy to the connected original case.