From heroes to outlaws
tv times joins Ripper Street as a supporting artiste and talks to the stars about their final explosive chapter…
It’s been lovely to tell the whole story, especially as Ripper Street has had quite a rocky ride
NEW Drama Ripper Street monday / bbc2 / 9.00pm
There was a bloodcurdling climax to the last season of Ripper Street, as Bennet Drake fell victim to cannibalistic serial killer Nathanial Dove, and a horrified Edmund Reid could do nothing to save him.
The fifth and final season of the unflinching drama, which has already aired on Amazon Prime and starts this week on BBC2, picks up the action just a few days after Drake’s death.
DI Reid, Captain Homer Jackson and Long Susan are out for justice, while also dodging a corrupt police force hunting them down over the death of Susan’s father, Theodore Swift.
TV Times visited the cast on set in Dublin, which stands in for Victorian London. To get us into the mood we were whisked into
make-up and costume, covered in ‘grime spray’ and kitted out in torn threads to give us the look of a local. It was not glamorous!
We soon bumped into Myanna Buring, 37, who plays savvy Long Susan. ‘We pick up pretty much from where we left them,’ she says. ‘They’ve been in the tunnels for a few days, and Jackson has a plan for where they may be able to hide out.
‘They go to an old theatre, which is being refurbished by miss mimi morton, Jackson’s ex-girlfriend. She’s confronted with three fugitives, one of whom she was madly in love with. Obviously that creates a lot of tension!’
‘They’re all pretty shell-shocked,’ says Matthew Macfadyen, 42, who plays Reid. ‘They’re on the run and Reid feels guilty about Drake and the way he behaved towards him.
‘He was quite thoughtless in his treatment of him before he died. Reid’s a stubborn man, which is admirable but also infuriating – it’s at the expense of other people’s feelings. Life feels bleak to him now and it’s difficult to see how he might prosecute Dove, who is being protected by his highranking policeman brother.’
In this series, Ripper Street’s world is flipped on its head as our heroes become outlaws. ‘It’s a rich set-up, this idea that Reid is a pillar of the law and now he’s outside it, especially with a woman he regards as a criminal. It’s very complicated and nuanced,’ reflects Matthew.
‘At times he feels frustrated, as he’s unable to see his daughter, Mathilda, but there’s also a freedom in having gone rogue – part of him thinks there’s nothing left to lose.’
meanwhile, Long Susan and Jackson (adam Rothenberg) are determined to be reunited with their son, Connor, before they leave Whitechapel. ‘All Susan wants is the freedom to create the family she longs for,’ explains Myanna. ‘However, memories are catching up with her – 55 people died [in a train crash] at her hands, and the guilt is incredibly hard to live with. There’s a dark tussle going on inside her.’
Although the show was cancelled after series two, then rescued by a fan campaign and an Amazon deal, the writers always planned a five-season arc. Matthew is grateful to have delivered the entire saga. ‘It’s been lovely to tell the whole story, especially as Ripper Street has had quite a rocky ride. This is the longest I’ve played one character, but it’s been special. I’ll miss it.’
DI Reid, Long Susan and Jackson return for the final season of
Our girl Emma in costume, and the infamous ‘grime spray’