The BBC are said to be in talks to reverse their decision to axe their period crime drama Ripper Street. The series was cancelled earlier this month, with the BBC citing falling viewing ratings as the reason for its decision not to continue with the show. However, after sparking outrage from viewers, the BBC are looking at the chances of enabling the show to return.
Ripper Street, which stared Matthew Macfadyen as a Jack the Ripper-era East End police Inspector, launched as part of BBC One’s Christmas schedule in 2012 with around 8 million viewers. At the end of the second series (which finished this Christmas) the number had fallen to just over 3 million.
In spite of the clear decline of dedicated viewers, the corporation’s decision to axe the show has caused outrage amongst its fans, with many asking why one of their best dramas has to go simply because some have stopped watching it. BBC One was also criticised in scheduling the second series to run at the same time as ITV’s hit I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! which regularly wins in the ratings battle.
Since the axing, viewers have started up online petitions, the largest of which has currently attracted over 33000 signatures.
Ripper Street was a UK/USA co-production between the BBC, BBC Worldwide, BBC America, Tiger Aspect and LookOut Point. Speaking to the Radio Times, a spokesperson for production company Tiger Aspect said “The creative team have great vision and high ambition for future series of Ripper Street. It would of course be marvellous to find a route to make these plans reality”. The BBC has commented saying they are now “looking at partnerships that could enable Ripper Street to return, but at better value to licence fee-payers”.
Riper Street follows what is becoming a tradition of BBC-axings, after they decided to cancel recent dramas such as Upstairs Downstairs, The Hour and The White Queen. It remains to be seen if they will put Ripper Street Series 3 into production and, if this does go ahead, what new form the drama will take.
Ripper Street Series 1 is released on Blu-ray disc and DVD by BBC Worldwide. The second series box set will be released in 2014.