Mainstreet Pictures has optioned the TV rights to The Five, historian Hallie Rubenhold’s untold story of Jack The Ripper’s five victims. The indie set up in 2013 by former ITV drama execs Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes has tapped Vanity Fair scribe Gwyneth Hughes to pen the scripts for the TV adaptation.
The Five sets the record straight about the lives of Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane, revealing a world of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman. For more than a century, the media been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes.
Not only is this untrue, but, as Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Mainstreet optioned the rights to The Five before it was published on proposal from United Agents. “We are hugely excited to have Gwyneth Hughes on board to create a drama from Hallie Rubenhold’s exceptional book which finally gives voice to these unheard women”, Laura Mackie said in a statement.
While Hallie Rubenhold added: “For years, the stories of the victims of the Ripper have been obscured by our society’s obsession with the killer. The Five turns this 130 year old narrative on its head and focuses on the unique and surprising lives of the women. Virtually everything we have come to believe about these mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and lovers is incorrect. None of them were from the East End of London and all had lived full and varied lives coloured by tragedy and triumph before their deaths. By giving voice to the victims, The Five promises to change the way we see the Ripper murders forever. Their moving and dramatic stories are ideal for television.”