ITV Orders True Crime Drama ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’

ITV has ordered The Yorkshire Ripper, a six part true crime drama series from the team behind Des and White House Farm that explores the investigation into the notorious serial killer,

The Yorkshire Ripper follows the desperate, cat and mouse hunt for Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper, focusing on the police investigation and the lives of the victims who fatally crossed his path. Between October 1975 and January 1981, police undertook the biggest manhunt in British criminal history.

The search for Sutcliffe lasted five years, involved over a thousand officers and changed the way the British police worked forever. George Kay is penning the scripts for the series, which is based on Michael Bilton’s book Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt For The Yorkshire Ripper. New Pictures is producing in association with All3Media International. The executive producers are Willow Grylls, Charlie Pattinson, Elaine Pyke with George Kay, Paul Whittington and Michael Bilton. Paul Whittington is attached to direct.

“In a story full with eye-watering statistics, one for me has always stood out: Peter Sutcliffe rendered 23 children motherless”, said George Kay. “That one fact in itself demands that any definitive drama about this case should encompass far more than just the story of a police investigation. We will focus not just on the police, therefore, but the victims, their families, those who were attacked but not believed, those who whose lives were permanently changed. This is not the story of a Ripper who hailed from Yorkshire, but the story of how Yorkshire was ripped apart.”

“By placing the victims, their families and the survivors at the heart of this story, George has crafted an excavation of British social history that goes far beyond the infamy”, commented Paul Whittington. “His writing sensitively reveals and humanises the untold number of lives devastated by these crimes, and powerfully exposes the enduring legacy of the failings of the biggest manhunt in British criminal history. This is a vital story about class prejudice, pervasive and entrenched societal sexism and women simply not being heard that still has relevance today.”

While ITV’s Head of Drama Poly Hill, who commissioned the series for the broadcaster, added: “I am delighted to be working with Willow and Paul again, after they made the brilliant White House Farm. This promises to be a definitive look at this infamous case, and will be sensitively dramatised for ITV by this formidable team, who have a proven track record in bringing these true stories to screen.”