Period crime drama Ripper Street has been axed after two series, the BBC has confirmed.
The Victorian period piece – starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg – had struggled in the ratings over the course of its second series, taking a considerable hit from a clash with I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! over on ITV. Before the jungle reality series began airing, Ripper Street was pulling in close to 4m, but shed 670,000 viewers in the week I’m a Celeb kicked off its 11th series, with last Monday’s episode scoring just 3.26m compared with its rival’s 8.2m.
The news that the show would not return for a third series was first revealed by Flynn on radio station BBC London 94.9 last night during an interview with presenter Simon Lederman. “We found out this week that the third series of Ripper Street isn’t going,” he said. “We’re all in shock.
“It was up against I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and that’s been cited as one of the reasons in terms of viewing figures. We’re all in absolute shock because it’s a wonderful job and we feel like it’s kind of this unfinished work.”
Flynn went on to hint that he was still waiting on a chance that the decision might be reversed. “We’re hoping it will turn around if anyone from the BBC is listening.”
The series, which concludes its current run on Monday 16 December, follows the often grisly crimes and misdemeanours taking place in a Victorian Whitechapel governed by Matthew Macfadyen’s Inspector Reid and Flynn’s Sergeant Bennet Drake.
“There’s these wonderful storylines which Richard [Warlow] and Toby [Finlay], the writers, have marked out,” continued Flynn, “and it’s one of the most captivating characters I’ve played and also been part of in terms of the story, so it is suddenly like a marriage being broken.”
A BBC spokeswoman later confirmed the news: “We are very proud of Ripper Street which has enjoyed two highly ambitious series on BBC1. However, the second series didn’t bring the audience we hoped and in order to make room for creative renewal and new ideas it won’t be returning.”