Period drama Ripper Street is making a comeback. Amazon UK – who today rebranded their streaming service from LOVEFiLM to Amazon Prime Instant Video – have renewed the drama series for a third season.
Ripper Street is a period police drama which is produced by Tiger Aspect Productions & Lookout Point and stars Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg. Season three, which will again be co-produced by BBC America and distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide, is to enter production this May and will initially air on Amazon’s streaming service before subsequently appearing on BBC One some months later. In addition, Amazon has acquired the SVOD rights to the first two seasons.
The pick up of the show’s third season comes after the BBC initially cancelled Ripper Street late last year. Shortly after that decision, Amazon Prime Instant Video (then known as LOVEFiLM) began a complex negotiation with the BBC and the series producers to bring Ripper Street back for an exclusive window on the streaming service followed by a linear broadcast on the BBC. It also represents the latest deal by Amazon to secure exclusive content for their UK streaming service. Other such deals have included a pact with Warner Bros. for the SVOD rights to Arrow, The Following, Hostages, The 100 and Revolution; as well as picking up Crossing Lines, Vikings and the Amazon Original series Alpha House, which Amazon Prime Instant Video launched in the UK today.
“We’re delighted to have secured not only the highly popular first two seasons of Ripper Street for our Prime Instant Video customers, but we can also confirm today that we will making season three, news that we know will delight the millions of fans of this brilliant British drama,” said Jason Ropell, Head of Amazon Instant Video International Content Acquisition. “Prime Instant Video offers our customers the largest subscription streaming service in the UK with over 15,000 popular movies and TV episodes, many of which are exclusive to the service, and we’re just getting started.”
This is the latest example of how streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix are opening up a variety of options to both producers and broadcasters. The BBC has maintained that, while Ripper Street was creatively strong, poor ratings and a need for fresh drama required that the series be axed after season two to give “value” to the licence fee payer. Now, with Ripper Street season three costing the BBC considerably less than were they solely funding the drama, the corporation can both bring back the series and “commission an entirely new, yet to be announced drama series”, noted Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s Controller of Drama Commissioning.