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End of the line for a ripping yarn which had to fight for life

Despite its tumultuous history, the fifth and final series of Ripper Street has reached our screens. Susan Griffin finds out what you need to know

Ripper Street's back this month for a fifth and final series, which was always the intention of show creator Richard Warlow, but back in 2013 this looked unlikely when the BBC pulled the plug after two series.

Dismayed by the decision, the show's loyal fan base got busy with a petition and the online streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video stepped in, agreeing to make a third series and later giving the green light for a further two.

It was only a matter of time before the BBC realised they had made a mistake and agreed to air the Victorian drama about cops and crooks once again.

"Saying goodbye to this world of Ripper Street and its characters is going to be a very strange thing; it's been five years of my life," comments Warlow, who has written for Waking The Dead and Mistresses.

"From the beginning when I began writing, I had in mind a five series arc, ending with us sending our characters off into the 20th century. I'm immensely proud we have been able to tell the story as we hoped, and equally proud that such a huge number of the original cast and the creative team have been involved every step of the way."

Series four introduced a new serial killer to the streets, the Whitechapel Golem. Convinced the murderer's cannibalistic crimes were being covered up by another party, DI Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and DI Drake's (Jerome Flynn) investigation pointed to a trail of corruption that led them right to the heart of Scotland Yard, specifically Assistant Commissioner Augustus Dove (Killian Scott) and his bestial brother Nathaniel Dove (Jonas Armstrong). During an attempt to bring down the Dove brothers, Drake lost his life to serial killer Nathaniel.

The final chapter begins just days after Drake's grisly demise, with DI Reid, surgeon Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) and his wife, the former brothel keeper "Long" Susan Hart (MyAnna Buring) determined to bring Drake's murderer to justice.

But the three of them, hunted down by Dove for the extra-judicial killing of Long Susan's father, Theodore Swift, are discovering that revealing the truth is not going to be easy.

With a barbarous killer on the loose and a corrupt lawman leading the police force, DI Reid faces his toughest challenge yet. Will he finally be able to restore peace and justice to Whitechapel?

Rothenberg believes Jackson is the responsible one in series five. "I think there's always been an inkling of that. It sometimes has been misguided, or more often than not it's completely backfired, but I don't think he's as selfish as people have made him out to be," remarks the 41-year-old actor.

And the last words from the lead?

"It's been lovely to tell the whole story, and have the chance to do that because Ripper Street's had a sort of quite a rocky ride," remarks Macfadyen, (42), who appeared in the long-running series Spooks.

"It feels very much like we've come back to the beginning, certainly in the last episode.

"It's just a beautifully written episode, so it's felt extremely satisfying creatively to be able to do that."

  • Ripper Street returns to BBC Two on Monday, June 19 at 9pm

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