The much anticipated Ripper Street is finally hitting Canada, premiering this Saturday at 9E/6P. Matthew McFadyen (Spooks) plays Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, based on the real life officer in charge of the Whitechapel murders. He’s joined by Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones) who plays Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake and Adam Rothenberg (The Ex List) as Captain Homer Jackson as they head up the infamous H Division.
To gear up for the premiere, I thought I’d bone up on the gruesome details about the Ripper murders. I am both fascinated by reading up on them as well as horribly disturbed and full of regret from my decision:
- There were several cases of assault and murder in London’s East End at the time starting with Emma Elizabeth Smith and Martha Tabram. However, only five cases have been confirmed as the work of Jack the Ripper given their M.O. (female prostitutes with deep throat slashes, abdominal, facial and genital-area mutilation, and/or removal of internal organs). The Ripper’s known victims are Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.
- Collectively, these murders were actually known as the Whitechapel Murders. The name Jack the Ripper didn’t come into play until police received a letter from the alleged killer addressed as “Dear Boss” and signed Jack the Ripper. Other letters were sent to the police that were believed to be from the murderer at the time including a postcard known as “Saucy Jacky” and a letter titled “From Hell”. Years later, it was revealed that they were hoaxes but the legacy of the name Jack the Ripper lived on.
- The deaths of Catherine Eddowes and Elizabeth Stride took place in one night (September 30, 1888) and were described in the “Saucy Jacky” postcard as the “double event”.
- Mary Jane Kelly was the only victim discovered indoors. She was found disemboweled in her room.
- DI Edmund Reid was the officer in charge of the enquiries into Smith and Tabram’s deaths until it escalated to Scotland Yard where DI Frederick Abberline stepped in to head up the investigation.
- Sir Charles Warren, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, resigned during the Ripper murders; shortly before Mary Jane Kelly’s body was discovered.
- There were several prime suspects including John Pizer (aka Leather Apron), Montague John Druitt and George Chapman (no relation to Annie Chapman).
Click here to see images from the new series and tune in Saturday at 9E/6P!