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ITV announces drama series on Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, is shown leaving court under heavy police guard. (Getty)
Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, is shown leaving court under heavy police guard. (Getty)

ITV has commissioned a true crime drama based on the hunt for Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper.

The series comes from the same producers of Des and White House Farm, programmes based on the murders of killers Dennis Nielsen and Jeremy Bamber.

The drama, which is currently under the working title of The Yorkshire Ripper, will cover the manhunt for Sutcliffe that took place between October 1975 and January 1981 with focus also on the lives of his victims and the loved ones they left behind.

Read more: Des proves ratings hit for ITV

The broadcaster has said the series will draw upon hundreds of case filmed, interview transcripts and police reports as it is also based upon Michael Bilton’s book, Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.

Screenwriter George Kay said: “In a story full with eye-watering statistics, one for me has always stood out – Peter Sutcliffe rendered 23 children motherless.

“That one fact in itself demands that any definitive drama about this case should encompass far more than just the story of a police investigation.

Demonstrators near the Old Bailey when the trial of Peter Sutcliffe continued in London, Friday, May 8, 1981. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators near the Old Bailey when the trial of Peter Sutcliffe continued in London, Friday, May 8, 1981. (AP Photo)

“We will focus not just on the police … but the victims, their families, those who were attacked but not believed, those who whose lives were permanently changed.

“This is not the story of a Ripper who hailed from Yorkshire, but the story of how Yorkshire was ripped apart.”

Casting details will be announced at a later date.

Read more: David Tennant transforms into Dennis Nilsen

Sutcliffe first began to target sex workers in Leeds before moving on to kill women from a variety of backgrounds across the North of England.

After being caught in 1981 he was sentenced to 20 concurrent sentences of life imprisonment for killing thirteen women and attempting to kill seven others.

The 74-year-old is currently imprisoned at HMP Frankland in County Durham.

The broadcaster’s head of drama Polly Hill said: “This promises to be a definitive look at this infamous case and will be sensitively dramatised for ITV.”

A miniseries on Sutcliffe and his crimes, This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, was broadcast on ITV back in 2000.

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