The Ripper: Netflix’s Peter Sutcliffe documentary accused of ‘glorifying’ serial killer

Families of victims aren’t happy with four-part series’ new title

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 19 December 2020 10:34
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The Ripper trailer

A new Netflix documentary about Peter Sutcliffe has been accused of “glorifying” the serial killer.

The families of Sutcliffe’s victims have taken exception to the four-part series’ new title, which was changed from Once Upon a Time in Yorkshire to The Ripper.

In an open letter shared with The Sunday Times, the family members say that the “the Yorkshire Ripper” moniker “has traumatised us and out families for the past four decades”.

"It glorifies the brutal violence of Peter Sutcliffe, and grants him a celebrity status that he does not deserve.

Some of the family members to have signed the letter also appear in the series, but say they would not have participated had they known the title was going to be changed.

"Please remember that the word 'ripper' relates to ripping flesh and the repeated use of this phrase is irresponsible, insensitive and insulting to our families and our mothers' and grandmothers' legacies,” the letter reads.

They added that they would not have taken part if they had known the title would be changed to a term that has   them for decades, and that they felt betrayed by the filmmakers.

In its defence of the series, Netflix said: "This is not a series about Sutcliffe but a sensitive re-examination of the crimes within the context of England in the late 1970s.”

Sutcliffe, who died last month after contracting Covid-19, was serving a life sentence for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and northwest England between 1975 and 1980. He was 74.

The new series is available to stream on Netflix now

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