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123 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to solve the unsolveable?
WHITECHAPEL recently aired on ITV as a three-part crime drama. Essentially, at the centre of the story is the question of whether in today's world with forensic science and improved criminal investigation, could Jack the Ripper be caught?

In order to put this idea across, the story revolves around the 'ultimate' fan of Jack copying his infamous murders, 120...
Published on 22 Feb. 2009 by Brida

versus
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite There.
An original idea but the treatment does not quite work. Despite a strong cast,the script and particularly the direction, are " clunky". There are too many cliches in the script and the relationships between the characters are unbelievable. The charismatic Penry-Jones and the marvellous Phil Davis, are really up against it in their brave attempts to give some realism to...
Published on 4 July 2011 by Adrian Drew


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123 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to solve the unsolveable?, 22 Feb. 2009
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
WHITECHAPEL recently aired on ITV as a three-part crime drama. Essentially, at the centre of the story is the question of whether in today's world with forensic science and improved criminal investigation, could Jack the Ripper be caught?

In order to put this idea across, the story revolves around the 'ultimate' fan of Jack copying his infamous murders, 120 years on. Penry-Jones stars as the detective put in charge of the case and he truly puts in a fantastic performance. It is he who first accepts that history is repeating itself - but of course, this realisation then brings him to the knowledge that it is he who is now responsible for trying to solve the unsolveable.

I won't give any more away than that. All I will say is that this drama succeeds on many levels. Ripperologists should find much to like but even just fans of drama and crime should take something from it. The cast are all very good, making it not just about Jack and the murders but also about the people on the police force.
Another great drama from ITV - highly recommended.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Is Back, 17 Feb. 2009
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
As the two reviewers who have already written that they are, I will make no bones about me NOT being a Ripperologist. Admittedly I know who was killed when and how, and I know the usual suspects including the more outrageous claims. But indeed how could I not, because over the years Jack the Ripper still fascinates people and has become a legend.

It is present day Whitechapel and it would seem that the police have a Jack the Ripper copycat killer on their hands. But if that wasn't bad enough the detectives who have to deal with the crimes have a fast-track university graduate to lead them. In todays modern world it should be relatively easy to catch the psychopath you would think, but alas no, as history starts to repeat itself. The forensic reports start to read exactly the same as from the original cases and the desriptions of the killer start to seem the same as back then, also you have the nutters who claim that they did it coming out of the woodwork, as they did back then. It seems that the ghost of Jack is back repeating his crimes as the police bash their heads against the wall following one misleading clue and suspect after another. Is it a copycat killer or has the real Jack returned? And can the police catch him? I'm not going to spoil it if you haven't already seen it, but it is well worth watching.

The production team have really done their research for this, the acting is brilliant and the whole thing gels together beautifully. Rupert Penry-Jones as the fast-track officer is convincing as all the characters are. Phil Davies is brilliant as the hardened copper who starts off undermining the leader of the group but comes to liking, respecting and helping the poor bloke. Steve Pemberton as the Ripperologist who tries to help the police plays his strongest and most powerful role that I have seen him in. If you loved Messiah you will definitely love this, and there isn't a criminal psychologist to get in the way anywhere.
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103 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Excellent, Sensitive And Intelligent Modern Update On The Jack The Ripper Story', 14 Feb. 2009
By 
Antony May (East Sussex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
As somewhat of an amateur Ripperologist myself (though I am a Maybrickite and most Ripperologists will tell you that this doesn't count HA HA) I was looking forward to and dreading watching 'Whitechapel' in equal measure. Looking forward because I was interested to see just how a modern film maker would get on with so difficult a task of recreating the most infamous series of murders of all time and dreading because I feared just how inaccurate, overblown or ridiculous the eventual plot may turn out to be (to say nothing of the standard of acting!).

It is with enormous joy then that I can thoroughly recommend 'Whitechapel' to you. Be you a seasoned Ripperologist, a beginner or someone with a casual interest in Jack The Ripper (or in fact just great drama) you WILL enjoy this. The standard of acting throughout is exceptional. Phil Davies is the epitomy of the abrasive, seasoned and experienced copper fed up with 'fast tracked' DI's taking command of 'his boys'. Rupert Penry-Jones is equally impressive as the 'never got his hands dirty before' out of his depth DI that eventually 'gets the taste' for the job he at first saw as a way of 'ticking a career box'. Best of all however is Steve Pemberton's Ripperologist character. Pemberton is simply magical as the incredibly knowledgeable, 'Buchann' whose apparent reveling in, and public performance of (via his 'Ripper Walks') the gory details of the case make him both creepy and unnerving.

For hardcore Ripperologists, the character names and suspect descriptions will ring many bells and help to truly bring the past to life. I am not going to spoil things here and tell all about the in's and outs of who the programme makers eventually point the finger at as their idea of who the ripper was but I will say that their opinion does at least work out to be a sensible one, something that should appease most that already know a lot about the case. As an extra for DVD, there is also a 20 odd minute 'Making Of' featurette including interviews with the cast, the director and the production crew. It is well worth watching and serves to advertise just how much thought and research went into the making of the programme. Some of the actors thoughts on their particular characters roles are also enlightening and a few of the 'subtle touches' that are revealed will ensure you will want to watch the main feature again more than once.

A triumph all round!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "So all you've got to do now is solve the unsolvable and catch the most famous serial killer that ever lived. Good luck.", 13 Dec. 2011
By 
H. Bala "Me Too Can Read" (Recently moved back to Carson, California, or as I call it... the center of the universe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Maybe if the tabloids back in the 1880s had dubbed him with a less evocative nickname, he may have sunk into dusty obscurity by now. "Jack the Stabby Dude" or "Jack the Tickler" or "Jack the Bloke What Really Wanted to Make Sure." He would've gotten laughed out of town then. Instead Jack the Ripper boasts one of them shivery sobriquets, and so his fearsome mystique only grows. This sucks particularly for modern day Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones), a well-connected, neat freaky, clotheshorse of a copper whose career is on the fast track. When he's assigned his first murder, the notion was that this was a simple domestic case in London's East End. Solve it, check it off the list, onwards and upwards for DI Chandler. He's never gotten his hands dirty before.

DI Chandler is given charge of the East End's homicide division, and what a slovenly, disagreeable crew this turns out to be. These detectives note Chandler's fastidiousness and expensive tailored suits and fast-track rep and the resentment brims over like a good hot cuppa. The vitriol doesn't come more vicious than from the unit's weathered, abrasive Detective Sergeant Ray Miles (Phil Davis). The tension only mounts when the police continue to be baffled. More corpses surface. Stabbed. Carved up. Mutilated.

I don't know what the percentage is, but an element of luck figures into any crime-solving, no matter how proficient the investigator. Luck saunters in in the shape of scholarly "Ripperologist" Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton) who promptly mentions the eerie parallels between the current rash of murders and what Jack the Ripper done so infamously in 1888. DI Chandler politely exhibits a raised eyebrow. DS Miles is even more direct in his scoffing. At first. But, soon after, it reluctantly dawns on the coppers that what they're facing is indeed a savage, devious copycat killer emulating Jack the Ripper's deeds detail for detail. It's pretty horrifying when history like this repeats itself. Jack the Ripper, remember, was never caught.

The modern police force versus an ancient villain straight out of urban legend. How can anyone pass this up? WHITECHAPEL's hook seems to be that of our trio of characters being pitted against criminals who've patterned themselves after notorious past killers. And I am down with that. I'm impressed with WHITECHAPEL, with its intelligent writing and staging of atmosphere that isn't quite paranormal but lapping on the shores of. The writers did a seamless job integrating Jack the Ripper's canonical murders into Chandler and company's contemporary investigations.

The two lead actors, Rupert Penry-Jones and Phil Davis, are rather brilliant, especially when in scenes together. Their uneasy relationship drives the plot as much as their ongoing case, the fish-out-of-water paper policeman and the battered, angry old bobby what's been forever in the trenches. There's a sense of gratification when DI Chandler - who only ever wanted this case as a stepping stone - begins to develop a taste for the chase. A warm glow suffuses at that moment near the end when Chandler's upper-crust boss informs him ruefully that he'll never rise above the rank of DI, but then take a peek at the expression on Chandler's mug as he reacts. I believe there's a contented smile. Solving the Jack the Ripper case will make a man out of any obsessive-compulsive wimp. Something which probably can't be said if the guy what done it is called Jack the Tickler. Or Jack the Stabby Dude.

The DVD's bonus feature consists of "Peeling Back the Layers" - the comprehensive Making Of featurette (00:29:05 minutes long).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rippology, 4 Nov. 2011
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I have a great fondness for English film/television, and now the BBC America series 'Whitechapel,' which opens with a three-part mini-series about a Jack the Ripper copycat comes our way. It is a fascinating study of modern police work versus the real Jack the Ripper era.

We are introduced to straight-laced DI Joseph Chandler, played by Rupert Penry-Jones, a favorite from MI-5 days. He is an up and comer and hopes to move to the administrative end of the police world. He enters the 'old way of policing and detective work', and almost immediately he runs up against DS Ray Miles, played by Phil Davis. The slovely, disrespectful group of detectives are in the beginning phase of a case that resembles Jack the Ripper of old. They discount any and all information from a 'Ripperologist' played by Steve Pemberton. He is a fascinating character and plays a large part in these series. After some conflict between Chandler, and the other detectives, they check unsolved crimes and discover that, much like the Ripper, this copycat may have killed before.

The three shows seem very fast paced, and many of the clues and thought processes are forced on us, to digest and assimilate. The Ripperologist, fills in many gaps, and I felt on top of the facts of Jack the Ripper and his crimes. This was an historical lesson as well as a good police procedural. The series tells us of the six women who were killed, how, when and where. The continuity of Jack the Ripper gives this show a great base, and the mystery is filled with suspense. We come to know the detectives and some of their quirks. Their tendencies to disorganization does not stand them in good stead with their new DI, and as they get to know him, they show change. This is a male 'Prime Suspect' and is well worth your viewing.

Recommended. prisrob
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripper revisited., 23 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Recreating the monstrosities committed by an unknown person more than a hundred years ago in present day world and presenting the same as a challenge to the modern police as-well-as numerous armchair detectives each having his/her own rhyme & reasons to go at them, MAYBE a good idea, MAYBE NOT. But what if that unknown person had been Jack The Ripper, and what if the series eventually tries to unmask the present-day copycat by trying to pinpoint not just his acts but even locations on the basis of that of the most probable (questionable choice, but every man to his killer) killer of 1888, and amidst all this is thrown in some of the tense character-portrayals that we have started associating with British Police-procedural/drama, we get this series. a fresh look at those killings, but not as documentaries. Recommended, and if you are new at this game (of Ripperology), I would like to recommend you some of the most reliable and authentic works to read, so that you can start your own hunt: The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, The Complete Jack the Ripper A-Z, and The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Let's see, if you can find Jack, but also, don't forget to watch this series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Dvd, 23 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Great actors in this series, I love Philip Davies, he is great in all his roles. If you like crime thrillers you will love this.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite There., 4 July 2011
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
An original idea but the treatment does not quite work. Despite a strong cast,the script and particularly the direction, are " clunky". There are too many cliches in the script and the relationships between the characters are unbelievable. The charismatic Penry-Jones and the marvellous Phil Davis, are really up against it in their brave attempts to give some realism to their lines. The scenes in the police station made me cringe! This combined with camerawork, which is far too self-conscious , and the tediously repeated shots and images, undermines the dramatic potential of the piece. Presumably the "fancy" style was a deliberate attempt to add mood and atmosphere and get over the potential censorship problems inherent in the piece - but for this viewer it failed. Still we watched it through 'till the end and found it just about okay. Let's hope season two shows an improvement. The digital transfer and sound are totally adequate and as was the bargain price of the set.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good solid drama with intriguing twist, 10 Oct. 2011
By 
hbw (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
If Jack the Ripper committed his murders in the 21st century, would modern detectives, backed up by forensic science and CCTV fare any better than their Victorian predecessors?

DI Joe Chandler (Rupert Perry-Jones) is an inexperienced officer who is being fast-tracked to a top job at the Yard. When a PCSO finds the butchered body of woman in London's East End, it looks like an open and shut case of domestic violence. Senior officers decide that it is also an ideal opportunity for Chandler to enhance his CV and he is put in charge of the investigation, to the annoyance of the experienced detectives who make up his new team.

Unfortunately, the chief suspect has a cast iron alibi and the team are back at square one when Edward Buchan (Steve Pemberton) arrives on their doorstep with the theory that the murder is a copycat killing based the activities of Jack the Ripper. Buchan, a "Ripperologist", is written off as a crank until the next murder ...

"Whitechapel" starts slowly, but then builds into an intriguing mystery with the twist that the police know the date and time of the next murder as history is repeated. This is a good solid police drama with dark undertones. Perry-Jones is excellent and there are strong supporting performances from Steve Pemberton as the Ripperologist and Phil Miles as the crusty DS who has to knock the wet-behind-the-ears DI into shape.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING AND RAW, 23 April 2015
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
His career on the line? For fastidious posh D.I. Chandler, this 2008 London East End posting was intended to be a brief stepping-stone to fast track promotion. Instead everything has gone wrong. A serial killer is on the loose, gruesomely replicating Jack the Ripper's crimes of exactly one hundred and twenty years earlier. Superiors demand quick results. The media labels him incompetent and bays for his blood. The original Ripper was never caught. What hope this time round, Chandler with subordinates so uncouth, disrespectful and smelly....

Much impresses. Whilst an excellent drama in its own right, there is a fascinating look at those original murders. Dripping with atmosphere, the series is further enhanced by strong scripts and great performances. As Chandler, Rupert Penry-Jones gains sympathy as one out of his depth but rising to the formidable challenges. Phil Davis, as ever, is superb - he here abrasive D.S. Miles, cop of the old school. Steve Pemberton shines as the quirky Ripperologist, for twenty years an authority on the subject. Is he a hindrance or a help? Surely he is not playing games and be the one they seek?

Only three episodes. An interesting thirty minute bonus feature. Here cast speak about their characters, creators describe research done to get Ripper details right. (Apparently there are surprisingly many Ripperologists around, probably eager to pounce on any mistakes.)

So much is so good, it does not surprise three seasons were to follow.
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Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD]
Whitechapel Series 1 [DVD] by SJ Clarkson (DVD - 2009)
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