Ripper Street

So that was Ripper Street. Sad that BBC1 should be ditching it, because of its failure to compete with I’m a Celebrity. But not surprising. Why should the audience for the latter bother with a detective series set in Victorian times, with its elegant dialogue and subtle contemporary references? No, of course it isn’t historically accurate in every detail, any more than Peaky Blinders was, but it had energy, intelligence and a conviction in what it was doing. Way beyond the details of individual stories, there’s this image of Reid, a rational, decent man, seeking to impose law-abiding order on a world that doesn’t want to know. With all three of the main characters, we’re offered the possibility of a redemptive happy ending, only to have it dashed away. Yes, they’re all blokes, but the women have lives and stories of their own, and arguably get off lighter than the men. But far better to go out in a blaze of gloomy pessimism than to keep endlessly repeating itself, sinking into self-parody like Downton Abbey or Homeland.