Yorkshire Ripper drama ITV

Yorkshire Ripper drama: ITV commissions true-crime series about Peter Sutcliffe

From the producers of Des and White House Farm

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An ITV Yorkshire Ripper drama from the makers of Des and White House Farm is in the works.

ITV confirmed today (Wednesday, October 21) that it has commissioned a six-part drama with the working title of The Yorkshire ripper from production firm New Pictures in association with all3media international.

The programme will depict one of the world’s most notorious and shocking serial killer cases.

The Yorkshire Ripper timeline of his crimes and is he still alive?
ITV has commissioned a true-crime drama about the Yorkshire Ripper (Credit: ITV News / YouTube)

Hunt for Yorkshire Ripper to become true-crime drama

Cops hunted for Peter Sutcliffe from October 1975 until January 1981. It became the biggest manhunt in British criminal history.

During the course of five years, more than 1,000 police officers were involved. The case even shifted the way the British police worked forever.

Read more: Des: Dennis Nilsen pleading not guilty leaves viewers shocked

Screenwriter George Kay (Criminal) will write the true crime drama. The series will focus on the police’s desperate cat-and-mouse hunt for Sutcliffe, as well as the lives of his victims.

Who will play Peter Sutcliffe in ITV’s Yorkshire Ripper drama?

No cast members for The Yorkshire Ripper have been announced yet.

There was a previous dramatisation of the case, released in 2000 and titled This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. In that series, Life On Mars actor Craig Cheetham played Sutcliffe.

But ITV is yet to confirm who will play the killer in the new series.

The Yorkshire Ripper timeline of his crimes and is he still alive?
Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe murdered 13 people and attempted to kill seven others (Credit: ITV News / YouTube)

When is The Yorkshire Ripper on ITV

ITV has not yet confirmed when the drama will hit screens.

On Twitter, some viewers have expressed their hope it will air at some point next year.

One wrote: “Hopefully will air sometime in 2021.”

ITV Yorkshire Ripper drama from the makers of Des

The co-founder and CEO of New Pictures, Willow Grylls (Des, White House Farm, The Missing) will executive produce The Yorkshire Ripper. She will work with renowned director Paul Whittington (White House Farm, Little Boy Blue, The Moorside, The Crown), who will be directing the series.

The Yorkshire Ripper series will be based on the acclaimed book Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, by Michael Bilton.

This promises to be a definitive look at this infamous case, and will be sensitively dramatised.

ITV has said the true-crime drama will be the first definitive account of the case. Accordingly, it will draw on the most extensive archive of the investigation, with source material including hundreds of case files, interview transcripts and police reports.

Sutcliffe’s crimes started as a series of murders on sex workers in Leeds. But his activities soon spread across the whole of the North of England, to women of all backgrounds and living in all different neighbourhoods.

Yorkshire Ripper drama ITV
Peter Sutcliffe received 20 concurrent life sentences (Credit: ITV News / YouTube)

How many people did the Yorkshire Ripper kill?

In total, he killed 13 and attempted to kill seven others. He was caught in 1981 and handed 20 concurrent sentences of life imprisonment.

Read more: Jimmy Savile drama: BBC commissions mini-series on disgraced showman

ITV drama boss Polly Hill said: “I am delighted to be working with Willow and Paul again, after they made the brilliant White House Farm. This promises to be a definitive look at this infamous case.”

Speaking further, Polly said ITV will “sensitively” dramatise the case. She also praised the “formidable team” behind the new series.

Executive Producer Willow Grylls commented: “George Kay’s beautifully nuanced scripts shines a light on a case that defined the second half of the twentieth century and continues to cast a long shadow.”


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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor