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Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper (1973 TV series).jpg
Created byTroy Kennedy Martin
Elwyn Jones
Written byElwyn Jones
John Lloyd
StarringStratford Johns
Frank Windsor
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Running time50 minutes
Original networkBBC1
Original release13 July (1973-07-13) –
17 August 1973 (1973-08-17)

Jack the Ripper is a six-part BBC police procedural made in 1973, in which the case of the Jack the Ripper murders is reopened and analysed by Detective Chief Superintendents Barlow and Watt (Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor, respectively). These characters were hugely popular with UK TV viewers at the time from their appearances on the long-running police series Z-Cars and its sequels Softly, Softly and Barlow at Large. The programme was presented partly as a discussion between the two principals in the present day, interspersed with dramatised-documentary scenes set in the 19th century. The series discusses suspects and conspiracies, but concludes there is insufficient evidence to determine who was Jack the Ripper. The experiment was seen to be a success, and the formula was repeated in 1976 with Second Verdict, in which Barlow and Watt cast their gaze over miscarriages of justice and unsolved mysteries from the past.



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"The First Two"[1]Leonard LewisElwyn Jones and John Lloyd13 July 1973 (1973-07-13)
2"Double Event"[2]Gilchrist CalderElwyn Jones and John Lloyd20 July 1973 (1973-07-20)
3"Butchery"[3]David WickesElwyn Jones and John Lloyd27 July 1973 (1973-07-27)
4"Panic"[4]Leonard LewisElwyn Jones and John Lloyd3 August 1973 (1973-08-03)
5"Suspects"[5]Gilchrist CalderElwyn Jones and John Lloyd10 August 1973 (1973-08-10)
6"The Highest in the Land?"[6]David WickesElwyn Jones and John Lloyd17 August 1973 (1973-08-17)


Jack the Ripper was made available for syndication. It was first distributed by 20th Century-Fox Television, in cooperation with Metromedia.[7]

When televised in the United States, it featured Sebastian Cabot as host-narrator, and was broadcast variably using the title The Whitechapel Murders or the original Jack the Ripper.[8][9]

The series was also adapted into a book titled The Ripper File authored by series script writers Elwyn Jones and John Lloyd.[10] The 1979 film Murder by Decree, starring Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes investigating the Whitechapel murders, was based on The Ripper File.[11]


  1. ^ "Television". The Guardian. London. 13 July 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  2. ^ "Television". The Guardian. London. 20 July 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  3. ^ "Television". The Guardian. London. 27 July 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Television". The Guardian. London. 3 August 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  5. ^ "Television". The Guardian. London. 10 August 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  6. ^ "Television". The Guardian. London. 17 August 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  7. ^ "Century Theatre (print ad)" (PDF). Broadcasting. 21 May 1973. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  8. ^ Newton, Dwight (7 October 1973). "Video with Dwight Newton: The week's new shows - it's a crime". Sunday Scene. The San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle. p. 16. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  9. ^ Bailey, Marilyn (10 March 1974). "Jack the Ripper is back". TV Week. Minneapolis Tribune. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 30 March 2019 – via
  10. ^ Jones, Elwyn; Lloyd, John. The Ripper File: The documentary investigation by Detective Chief Superintendents Charles Barlow and John Watt. Arthur Barker. ISBN 0213165368. LCCN 75328051. OCLC 1464278.
  11. ^ Bob Clark (director) (1979). Murder by Decree (Motion picture). London: AVCO Embassy Pictures. OCLC 472353182. Based on 'The Ripper File' by John Lloyd and Elwyn Jones