The Weekend's Viewing: A stock population of peelers, toffs and prostitutes tell us nothing new about the Ripper's London

Ripper Street, Sun, BBC1 // The Hotel, Sun, Channel 4

Ripper Street, a little ironically given the naked opportunism with which it exploits the allure of Whitechapel's most notorious killer, is based around a Victorian detective inspector who's sick to death of Jack the Ripper.

"I would have obsession blinker us to the wider world no longer," says DI Reid angrily at the end of the first episode, addressing himself to Chief Inspector Abberline (the real-life detective who investigated the Whitechapel murders) and a tabloid journalist who has found the Ripper very good for trade. So good, in fact, that he isn't above touching up a new crime scene to make it look more like the latest instalment of the Ripper's savage part-work. Both men see the Ripper in everything, which makes life difficult for Inspector Reid, who thinks that there's quite enough evil to be going on with without amplifying the legend of one particular demon.

Richard Warlow's series began with the indispensable components of a Victorian East End drama: gas light, cobbled streets crowded with prostitutes and drunks, wisps of a London peculiar adding to the atmosphere. Rather implausibly, a group of genteel tourists were being guided through the fetid alleyways, visiting the scenes of the Ripper's previous murders and, eventually, stumbling over what appeared to be his latest. Call for Inspector Reid (played by Matthew MacFadyen), who was hauled away from a nearby bare-knuckle fight, where his doughty Detective Sergeant Drake had gone undercover as a crooked pugilist. And call, too, for Reid's sidekick, Captain Jackson, an American visitor who we first saw pulling his head from between the thighs of a bemused tart, who appeared unused to such transatlantic erotic novelties. Both men have troubled relationships with the women in their life, and offered hints of a past that will presumably be revealed with strip-tease gradualness.

Captain Jackson did the Sherlock Holmes proto-CSI stuff, establishing that the dead woman had been strangled and mutilated to look like the Ripper's victim. From the callus on her collarbone, he guessed she was a fiddle player, and from the soot in her hair, that she'd travelled on the new underground line. And when the pair followed up the case of a missing violinist from Finchley, they found themselves stumbling into the world of Victorian porn. There were light traces of historical research: Warlow has looked through some glossaries of Victorian criminal slang and there was an intriguing moment when we found Reid looking at an Eadweard Muybridge pamphlet on Animal Locomotion, as if he had an early interest in the very technology that presents him to us. But the series seems less interested in what people don't already know about 19th-century London than in what they already do. One day, someone will really quarry into Mayhew and give us something other than the stock population of peelers, toffs and prostitutes. But it doesn't look as if it's happened yet.

The Hotel is back – and Mark, the beleaguered owner of the Grosvenor in Torquay, has had the terrible idea of going upmarket. The occasional similarity between this series opener and a famous episode of Fawlty Towers did raise the odd doubt about how exactly unadulterated an account this is. But, allowing for the self-amplification that inevitably occurs when people find that they've become identifiable television characters, it feels authentic. I fear that Mark may not find "Guardian readers" (where he placed his first ad) quite as eager to share their private moments with the country as his current guests. But he'll need to do something soon. The Magic Ball he and Christian had organised to drum up extra business had been so incompetently costed that they lost three pounds a head on every satisfied customer. Christian carefully explained to the chef that it was supposed to be a loss leader. Part one of the plan worked, anyway.

twitter.com/tds153

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam