Following the huge success of ITV drama Des, which told the story of the prosecution of Dennis Nilsen, ITV has made the decision to make a brand new crime-based drama – this time, about the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe is a British serial killer who was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven more – each crime taking place between 1975 and 1980. Currently being held in HM Prison Frankland in Durham, Sutcliffe is serving 20 concurrent sentences of life imprisonment.
Talking about the new project, ITV’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 by this formidable team, who have a proven track record in bringing these true stories to screen.”
Executive Producer Willow Grylls added: “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.”
Writer George Kay will reportedly base his scripts on Michael Bilton’s book, ‘Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper’, focussing the story on the lives of Sutcliffe’s victims, the families and friends left behind and the police officers and detectives behind the investigation.
Director Paul Whittington said, “By placing the victims, their families and the survivors at the heart of this story, George has crafted an excavation of British social history that goes far beyond the infamy.
“His writing sensitively reveals and humanises the untold number of lives devastated by these crimes, and powerfully exposes the enduring legacy of the failings of the biggest manhunt in British criminal history.
Writer George Kay added: “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.
“We will focus not just on the police, therefore, 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.”