UK / ITV1 – Carnival / 18×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 2 February 2009 – 9 October 2013
Writer: Ben Court, Caroline Ip / Script Editor: Janine Bennett / Titles: Dolores McGinley / Special Effects: Mark Holt / Music: Ruth Barrett / Producer: Marcus Wilson, Grainne Marmion, David Boulter / Executive Producer: Sally Woodward Gentle
Crime drama series Whitechapel sees Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler and Detective Sergeant Ray Miles investigating crimes in the East End of London that seem to carry echoes of notorious crimes from the area’s past. In the first three parter it was a copycat killer bringing the horrors of Jack the Ripper back to life and in the second run of three episodes it was the Kray Twins who provided the inspiration for the killer the duo are tracking to track down. Teaming up with the detectives is expert historian Buchan who with his incredible knowledge of the area is initially suspected of being behind the Ripper crimes. Meanwhile in the Kray Twins case it is Buchan himself who makes the connection with the past.
When the super smart Chandler first arrives on the scene his team give him an extremely hard time, his university ways and complete lack of experience with big crime scenes doesn’t endear him to them but over the course of the investigations he forms a close knit relationship with both Davis and Buchan.
A dark but completely compelling series (one of the big hits for ITV1 for its first run), the three part stories allow things to be kept very tight, it does veer a little to the gruesome side but it’s a brilliant central concept and both three parters capture the vibe of their respective eras whilst still managing to stay in the present day, the casting is excellent too. Penry-Jones is one of the most popular actors in the UK these days and Phil Davis is superb as always, it’s a nice touch having Steve Pemberton in as the slightly sinister Buchan.
Seasons three and four expanded to six episodes, both featuring three two part stories. It did dilute the impact a little but the series still remained strong.
RUPERT PENRY-JONES as Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler
PHILIP DAVIS as Detective Sergeant Ray Miles
STEVE PEMBERTON as Edward Buchan
ALEX JENNINGS as Commander Anderson
JOHNNY HARRIS as D.C. Sanders
SAM STOCKMAN as D.C. Kent
GEORGE ROSSI as D.C. McCormack
CHRISTOPHER FULFORD as D.C. Fitzgerald
CLAIRE RUSHBROOK as Dr Llewellyn
PETER SERAFINOWICZ as D.C.I. Cazenove (serial 2)