When Ripper Street returns to Amazon this year, we can expect a few subtle changes from the former BBC1 drama. Most noticeable will be the length of the episodes which are no longer subject to the Beeb’s strict time slots – nor its 9pm watershed.
“Where it has changed is the flexibility that you don’t get when your prime buyer is saying you’re going out at nine o’clock and it’s going to be 58 minutes long,” says writer Richard Warlow. “It’s very freeing. If we want to have an episode that’s 65 minutes long, we can. We can put that cut out and everybody can see it.”
Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg, the drama was cancelled by the BBC last year, only to be revived by Amazon last February – the first UK TV series to be resurrected by a streaming service with plans to air the third season on BBC a few months after its online premiere.
“The version you see on Amazon Prime Instant Video later on in the year will be exclusive to Amazon and slightly different to the version you see on the BBC,” explained Chris Bird, director of content strategy at Amazon.
“We said to Richard, we don’t have a 60-minute slot to fill. We want you to write this season completely unencumbered so if you want to write season three episode one to be a 75-minute episode, then make it a 75-minute episode. We will never say cut these bits out to fit this slot. That’s one of the areas of flexibility that we offer writers, producers and content makers. There are no rules for us in terms of what we can and can’t do.”
Amazon’s director of global content, Jason Ropell, added: “It’s a unique and special cut of the show Amazon Prime Instant Video customers will only see. This is the best version of this show the creator could create and it’s only for our customers.”
Also starring MyAnna Buring and new cast member Louise Brealey, the third series of Ripper Street is currently shooting in Dublin.