Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saving Ripper Street

Ripper Street is an unusual drama.  It is a crime series set in Victorian London, and each episode features some gruesome murder and a scene or two of violence. A few of the actors could do with enunciating their words just a little more clearly because Hodmandod Senior and I find ourselves guessing our way through some of their conversations - but that is just like real life, I guess, and maybe adds to the authenticity.

Despite this, Ripper Street has become a highlight of my week.  The characterisation is complex, interesting and convincing, the plot is absorbing and I like the way some of the more weird Victorian-age motifs are incorporated e.g. the elephant-man and the introduction of electricity into London.  I also like the way the people speak - when I can hear them, that is - their vocabulary is slightly off-beat and sounds like it could be how people spoke just then.  In other words - excellent writing!

Unfortunately, few people seem to have heard of it.  The first series was shown on a Sunday night, and this series is being shown on a Monday - against the incredibly popular 'I'm a Celebrity...' It therefore had very little chance to draw an audience - and hasn't, apparently.  The BBC are therefore cutting it - a big shame!

Here is a clip

and here is an on-line petition to the BBC to save the programme. Please sign it to save some great writing.


Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

I’m sorry to hear this. I haven’t seen any of the second season—we save these things up and watch them over a few days (technology is wonderful)—but I’m looking forward to it. We’ve just watched the first episode of Peaky Blinders but the characters aren’t quite as engaging as in Ripper Street. There’s another BBC show called Copper which you might want to look out for; again it only lasted two seasons. We like period dramas and no one does them like the BBC but maybe the public’s preference is for one-offs or short runs. Personally I’d like to see them bringing more theatrical dramas to the small screen. It happens occasionally (like the excellent Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell with Peter O’Toole) but not often enough. To my mind performances like Waiting for Godot with Stewart and McKellen should be recoded for posterity. I don’t buy that theatre has to be ephemeral. They tape comics doing stand-up shows so why not plays? Yes, by all means let them have their moment in the limelight but then release the DVD. I bet even those who went to see the live performance would love a memento.

Tue Dec 10, 12:34:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

You're in for a treat, Jim! I haven't seen Peaky Blinders, although I remember thinking it looked good. And I shall look out for Coppers. I agree about the dramas. I remember some great ones from my youth, Now I sometimes wonder - were they truly great or am I just looking back with rose-tinted spectacles? And yes, I agree - recording some of these live performances for posterity would be a good thing.

Tue Dec 10, 02:40:00 pm  
Blogger Brian Clegg said...

I'm watching it, Clare!

Tue Dec 10, 05:20:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I always knew you were a man of taste, Brian!

Tue Dec 10, 05:33:00 pm  

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