Ripper Street creator developing BBC period drama about the British slave trade

Richard Warlow is writing a major series that will ask searching questions about Britain's role in slavery

The BBC is developing a major new drama about the 17th-century slave trade, can reveal.


Written by Ripper Street creator Richard Warlow, the drama promises to be large in scale and will pull no punches in asking searching questions about the British wealth acquired through slavery.

“It’s a saga set in Jamaica and the idea is for it to be a long-running series to start in 1688 and finish with the abolition of slavery in 1815,” Warlow reveals.

But he is careful to stress that it has not yet been formally green lit. “I think it’ll be over many series. That’s the idea but the BBC have just commissioned the first script. It’s something I’ve enjoyed writing enormously.”

Series three of period detective drama Ripper Street launched on Amazon Prime Instant Video last year with a double bill of episodes. The full series will air on BBC1 this year.


It has not yet been decided on what BBC channel the slavery drama will air if it wins a full commission.