Ripper Street Series 2: BBC Gruesome Drama Returns to our Screens

If you like period drama and find Downton Abbey a bit too twee and Boardwalk Empire a bit too long winded, then Ripper Street’s definitely worth a watch. Ripper Street series 2 has just got under way on BBC One and if the rest of the 8 episode season is as good as the first show, then the second season could match the first for originality, creative energy and strong storytelling.

The set-up hasn’t changed from the first season, with the three main characters playing their part. Matthew Macfadyen’s Detective Inspector Reid is still very earnest and says things in an overly stylised manner using twelve words when three would do, but that’s part of the show’s charm. Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake, played by Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn, snarls at the American, Captain Jackson played with a permanent grin by Adam Rothenberg and Downton Abbey’s MyAnna Buring is sassy and sexy as brothel owner Long Susan.

Season two moves the story onto 1890, leaving Jack the Ripper far behind. A new terror confronts the three main characters and the writers seem to have given Reid a nemesis in the form of Jedediah Shine, played by Joseph Mawle with a slimy, mistrust that makes you wonder why you didn’t suspect him from the moment the camera showed his weasel-like face.

“The show just gets better and better as the writers are having fun and taking risks,” Matthew Macfadyen told the press before describing Ripper Street as “a thriller with great storylines.”

“It’s been fun being back,” said Jerome Flynn, “Some people say the show is too dark, others love it. But that’s how Victorian London was,” the Game of Thrones star added.

Having commissioned, written and filmed a second season so quickly after the first was shown is a worry because there’s every chance this new season of Ripper Street won’t have the depth or character development that underpinned the first season, but it’s started well enough.

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