The Long Shadow is the latest TV dramatisation of a horrifying true crime that appalled the nation – and the actors are all playing real people.
A seven-parter, the fact-based crime drama relives the hunt for the murderer who became known as the Yorkshire Ripper, until police discovered the culprit was called Peter Sutcliffe.
The series focuses on the lives of the victims who crossed his path and those of the officers at the heart of the police investigation. The first episode – which goes out on Monday, September 25, 2023 at 9pm – sees Wilma McCann’s four young children wake up to find their mother missing.
After her body is found not far from her house, DCS Dennis Hoban takes charge of the investigation to try and catch her killer. Meanwhile, across the city, Emily and Sydney Jackson’s marriage is faltering in the face of financial hardship. She turns to desperate measures, which in turn ends with her becoming Peter Sutcliffe‘s second victim…
Here’s a rundown of which actors play the real people in The Long Shadow on ITV.
The Long Shadow real people: Mark Stobbart plays Peter Sutcliffe
Actor Mark Stobbart portrays serial killer Peter Sutcliffe in the ITV drama. A spokesperson for the channel made it clear that the focus of the series is not on the killer, but instead his victims. In fact, the character only appears in the final two episodes – six and seven.
Of course, we now know that Peter Sutcliffe murdered 13 women and attempted to murder seven others.
Viewers might know Mark best for playing Neil ‘Robbo’ Robson in the recent drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat. He also played Shaun in Moving On, Ivan in No Offence, and Bejan in Utopia.
Other notable roles include Lee in The Silence, and PC Martin Clark in 55 Degrees North, a role he played from 2004 to 2005. Line of Duty fans might recognise him for playing Neil in series 4.
Gemma Laurie plays first victim Wilma McCann
Wilma McCann was just 28 when she became Peter Sutcliffe’s first known victim. He killed her on October 30, 1975. Wilma was a sex worker at the time, from Scott Hall in Leeds. She was a mother-of-four.
Tragically, Peter Sutcliffe struck her twice with a hammer before stabbing her 15 times in the neck, chest and abdomen.
Scottish actress Gemma Laurie portrays Wilma McCann in the brilliant ITV drama The Long Shadow. Compared to some of her co-stars, Gemma is relatively new to acting.
Her first TV role was in 2016 in the short film Flowers. She’s since played Gemma in Rubix, Laurel Smith in Best of Everything, Always, and Savannah in Taco Bell: Fry Again. Her role as Wilma is her first mainstream, primetime role.
The Long Shadow real people: Katherine Kelly stars as Emily Jackson
Peter Sutcliffe killed 42-year-old Emily Jackson in Leeds in January 1976. He stabbed her 52 times, making her his second victim. Tragically, Emily Jackson had been using the family van to earn extra money temporarily as a sex worker.
Peter Sutcliffe picked up Emily outside the Gaiety pub on Roundhay Road. He drove around half a mile to derelict buildings on Enfield Terrace in the Manor Industrial Estate before killing her.
Popular actress Katherine Kelly, 43, portrays Peter Sutcliffe’s second victim Emily Jackson. Of course, soap fans will know her for playing Becky McDonald in Coronation Street, a role she portrayed from 2006 to 2012.
Molly Vevers stars as Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson was just 28 when she became Peter Sutcliffe’s third victim. On February 5, 1977, he attacked Irene by bludgeoning her to death with a hammer.
She was in Chapeltown, working as a sex worker at the time. Tyre tracks left near the murder scene resulted in a long list of possible suspect vehicles, but police weren’t anywhere close to catching Peter at that time.
Scottish-born actress Molly Vevers portrays Irene Richardson in The Long Shadow. She is perhaps best known for her role as Heather in Amazon Prime’s The Rig.
She’s also popped up in Doctors, Chubby Funny, and The Spanish Princess.
The Long Shadow real people: Sophie Hopkins stars as Patricia Atkinson
Patricia Atkinson became Peter Sutcliffe’s fourth victim. She was just 32 when she encountered the sick serial killer. On April 23, 1977, he killed Patricia ‘Tina’ Atkinson, in her own flat. Police found a bootprint on her bedclothes. She had been earning money as a sex worker at the time of her death.
Actress Sophie Hopkins portrays Patricia Atkinson in The Long Shadow on ITV. She’s been acting since 2016, when she appeared in the short film The Meeting Place. In 2016, she played April MacLean in sixth-form drama Class. Sophie has also portrayed Georgina Garrett in the 2020 drama series Trickster, and Sarah Goodwin in Sky Original drama Wolfe.
The victims not depicted in The Long Shadow
After the death of 16-year-old Jayne McDonald in June 26, 1977 (no actress portrays Jayne in the drama), Peter Sutcliffe murdered Jean Jordan, 20. No actress plays Jean in the drama. On October 9, 1977, local dairy worker and future Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones found her body.
Then came Sutcliffe’s next victim Yvonne Pearson, a 21-year-old prostitute from Bradford who was murdered on January 21, 1978. He repeatedly bludgeoned her across the head with a ball-peen hammer. Her body was not found until March 26, 1978.
Next, Peter Sutcliffe killed Helen Rytka, 18. He struck Rytka on the head five times as she exited his vehicle, before stripping most of the clothes from her body, then repeatedly stabbing her in the chest.
Vera Millward, 40, was killed on May 16, 1978. Josephine Whitaker, 19, was killed on April 4, 1979. Peter Sutcliffe murdered Barbara Leach, 20, on September 1, 1979.
Marguerite Walls, 47, and Jacqueline Hill, 20, were next.
The Long Shadow real people: Daisy Waterstone plays last victim Jacqueline Hill
Peter Sutcliffe killed 20-year-old Jacqueline Hill on the night of November 17, 1980. A student at Leeds University, Jacqueline became his last victim. Her body was found on wasteland near the Arndale Centre.
Actress Daisy Waterstone portrays Peter Sutcliffe’s last victim in The Long Shadow on ITV1. She made her first ever TV appearance in Silent Witness in 2014. She went on to appear in Dalgliesh, The Time Tree, and And Then There Were None.
However, she is best known for playing Margo Durrell in The Durrells, a role she played from 2016 to 2019. Daisy also portrayed Abigail Carey in The Capture, too.
Who plays who in The Long Shadow on ITV1?
Toby Jones portrays real life detective DCS Dennis Hoban in The Long Shadow. Meanwhile, Michael McElhatton portrays Chief Countable Ron Gregory.
Kris Hitchen stars as DC John Nunn, Lee Ingleby is DCS Jim Hobson, Stephen Tompkinson stars as David Gee, and Jack Deam stars as DI Les Hanley.
All of whom were real detectives investigating the tragic crimes of Peter Sutcliffe. Meanwhile, Sammy Winward plays Sonia Sutcliffe, the wife of Peter.
The Long Shadow starts on ITV1 at 9pm on Monday, September 25, 2023, and continues every Monday for seven weeks.
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