Ripper Street

Series 1 - 1. I Need Light

I Need Light
Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

It’s 1889 and the teeming streets of Whitechapel in east London are in tumult; though Jack the Ripper seems to have stopped carving a bloody swathe through the area’s prostitutes, the local population remains febrile and terrified of shadows.

Whitechapel police’s H Division and the decent, clever and level-headed Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) have grown used to the hysteria, so when a woman is found dead and savagely mutilated, they are prepared for the worst. Is Jack back? Reid recruits a dissolute American friend, a former Pinkerton detective, to help in the hunt for the killer.

Richard Warlow’s full-on script, in the first of an eight-part series, and the excellent production design pull us straight into Ripper Street. You can almost smell the stench of a capital groping its way to prosperity after the Industrial Revolution. But it’s a strange thing, a stylised oddity and, oh my,
it’s very kinky.

About this programme

1/8. Thriller following a Victorian police division investigating murders on the blood-stained streets of London's Whitechapel. Matthew Macfadyen stars as DI Edmund Reid, still frustrated by his failure to capture Jack the Ripper six months previously, with Jerome Flynn as his dedicated sergeant Bennett Drake, and Adam Rothenberg as reluctant forensic analyst Captain Homer Jackson. A young woman is found brutally slain, a crime bearing the hallmarks of the Ripper. Former police boss Frederick Abberline believes the killer is back - but Reid suspects a new evil is at work. Myanna Buring, Amanda Hale and Clive Russell co-star.

Cast and crew


Det Insp Edmund Reid
Matthew Macfadyen
Det Insp Bennet Drake
Jerome Flynn
Cpt Homer Jackson
Adam Rothenberg
PC Dick Hobbs
Jonathan Barnwell
Ch Insp Fred Abberline
Clive Russell
Sgt Donald Artherton
David Wilmot
Long Susan
MyAnna Buring
Fred Best
David Dawson
Rose Erskine
Charlene McKenna
Emily Reid
Amanda Hale
Christian Thwaites
Steven Robertson
Sir Arthur Donaldson
Mark Dexter
Joseph Smeaton
Geoff Bell
Cecil Creighton
Julian Bleach
Maud Thwaites
Sarah Gallagher
Morgan Jones
Tour guide
Garry Mountaine
Bush Mouzkarzel
Fight umpire
Sean Duggan


Tom Shankland
Stephen Smallwood
Richard Warlow