Yorkshire Ripper murders revisited for major new TV documentary series

Peter Sutcliffe.
Peter Sutcliffe.
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A major TV documentary series is set to turn a compelling spotlight on the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper.

The three-part series is being made for BBC Four with the aim of looking at the murders committed by Peter Sutcliffe in the 1970s and 1980s from a “wholly new perspective”.

It will also explore whether the attitudes of the time had an impact on the troubled police investigation into the killings, with a number of Sutcliffe’s victims having worked as prostitutes.

And today, as details of the programme were announced by BBC Four controller Cassian Harrison at the Edinburgh TV Festival, its producers appealed for people directly affected by the Ripper murders to get in touch with them and play a part in what is being billed as “three gripping hours of television”.

Series director Liza Williams said: “We are keen to make contact with any family members or friends of victims in this case.

“Their memories will help us to reflect who these women really were, and the lifelong impact their loss has had on loved ones.”

The series, which has a working title of The Yorkshire Ripper, is being made for the BBC by the Wall to Wall Media production company and is due to air next year.

It will also speak to some of the survivors of Sutcliffe’s attacks as well as police officers who investigated his crimes and journalists who covered the case.

Wall to Wall Media’s previous work includes acclaimed programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family.

Now aged 72, Bradford lorry driver Sutcliffe killed 13 women during a reign of terror that began with the death of Leeds mother-of-four Wilma McCann in 1975.

He was caught by chance in Sheffield in 1981 and subsequently handed 20 life terms for his murders and another seven attempted killings.

To contact the team making the series, e-mail Yorkshire@walltowall.co.uk or ring 0203 301 8684.