ITV to make a six-part drama based on the Yorkshire Ripper murders

Announcement follows the critical and commercial success of ‘Des’

Des trailer starring David Tennant

ITV has announced that it is producing another true-crime drama based on the case of Peter Sutcliffe, also known as the Yorkshire Ripper.

Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women between 1975 and 1980 in the North of England, and attempting to murder seven others. Sutcliffe was sentenced to 20 consecutive sentences of life imprisonment.

The six-episode series is being developed by New Pictures, the company behind the acclaimed recent dramas Des and White Hill Farm

The project is being written by George Kay (Criminal) under the working title The Yorkshire Ripper.

According to ITV, the project will seek to be “the first definitive account of a case that shook Britain”, and will be based upon Michael Bilton’s acclaimed book Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.

Six of Peter Sutcliffe’s victims: Vera Millward, Jayne MacDonald, Josephine Whittaker, Jean Royle, Helga Rytka and Barbara Leach

The Yorkshire Ripper will focuses on the lives of Sutcliffe’s victims, the victims’ families, and the extensive five-year manhunt which eventually resulted in Sutcliffe’s arrest.

Kay said: “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.”

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