If only there was a drama that features witchcraft, cold war espionage, ghoulish Victorian surgeons, cryptozoology and hidden horrors in the East End’s underground tunnels. But you know what, there’s never anything like that on telly.
Hang on a sec though, because Whitechapel’s back and you’ll never guess what – that’s right, it features all of those items. What are the chances of that?
The latest run of the hit series contains three separate stories that run across two episodes each – so six instalments in total.
The middle one has been penned by Steve Pemberton, who also plays Buchan in the show, while the other two are by the show’s creators, Ben Court and Caroline Ip.
“There’s lots of scary stuff going on!” says Rupert Penry-Jones, who plays DI Joseph Chandler. “I think what they realised from the last series is that people really enjoyed the scary, suspenseful elements of Whitechapel not just the horror – though there is still going to be some gore of course.
“The new series has three separate stories like the last one did, but this time we also have this kind of dark, psychological thing that each character has to deal with across the entire series. Everyone is being spooked in one way or another and we don’t know whether it can be explained logically or whether there’s something else going on.
“One of the dangers of a long-running show as a regular is that the guest stars get all the fun stuff to do, so now we have this story through all six parts it’s great, much more rewarding as an actor.”
The first case begins with the discovery of a man crushed to death by stones – but his demise is just the first of several bizarre murders that seem to be linked to a 16th-century incident involving witchcraft.
Has somebody embarked on a real-life witch-hunt, and if so, why? And what are its links to 20th-century spies?
Whitechapel, the area of London that the series takes its name from, is a pretty atmospheric place. But does it ever strike anyone that it’s odd that all the weird crimes depicted in the series keep happening in such a relatively small place?
Rupert reveals: “That is coming through in this series – the idea of something other-worldly going on within Whitechapel.”
The actor, while playing Chandler, has had to deal with some hairy experiences – but he claims he never finds filming scary.
“But I do get scared watching the episodes,” he laughs. “When I watched the episode last year where the guy was hiding in the walls I did actually go round my home and check that everything was locked.
“Whilst I was doing it I thought – I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I had to check!”
Thankfully, such occurrences haven’t put him off filming the show – in fact, Rupert can’t wait to do more.
“I think we’d be crazy to stop,” he claims – to the relief of Whitechapel fans everywhere.
WHITECHAPEL, ITV1, Wednesday 9pm