Police investigators and key witnesses recant how a modern-day Jack the Ripper managed to tear his way through the North of England during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, until his eventual capture and downfall. This new and impressive Netflix documentary focuses on the horrible crimes committed by the serial killer, along with the police chase that ensued and the eventual capture of the man responsible, Peter Sutcliffe.
Having been born and raised in Yorkshire, England, the story of the Peter Sutcliffe, better known as the Yorkshire Ripper, is one that I’ve always been aware of and one that I’ve known pretty well. So, with that being said, when I saw Netflix advertising a new series on the case, I was eager to sit down and give it a shot and see how they depicted the serial killer that plagued Yorkshire all those years ago.
Split into four reasonably timed episodes, covering approximately one-hundred and eighty minutes in total, the series firstly did a superb job of highlighting some of the atrocious acts of violence committed by the Yorkshire Ripper himself. Each of the thirteen victims were delved into heavily, along with some surviving victims too.
As with the majority of Netflix releases, they managed to present this to the viewer in a way in which you’d struggle to find yourself bored at any point. Most of the imagery and visuals were remastered and easy on the eye, despite much of the footage being over forty years old. The filmmakers even managed to interview and gain snippets of information from a variety of different people that were involved in the case – those people would range from family members of the victims to local journalists that covered the case originally and even police chiefs that were trying to catch the killer.
One thing I have noticed since finishing the series, however, is the sheer number of negative reviews based on the filmmakers underlining the social issues facing society (more specifically women) back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, along with the rather tepid work undertaken by the police force. While I do agree that these issues may have been too heavily focused on at times, I do also see them as an important part of the saga on a whole, thus needed.
In my opinion, one aspect of the series that I felt could have been emphasised more greatly on, was the way in which the Ripper was eventually caught and his reasoning behind committing his horrendous crimes. In the grand scheme of things, this part of the tale was somewhat rushed, and no real explanation was given as to why Peter Sutcliffe did what he did – despite the filmmakers revealing the fact that he admitted everything to the authorities once caught.
Overall, if an English true crime documentary is something that would interest you one evening then The Ripper is certainly something you should give a go. All four episodes are currently streaming on Netflix.