Yorkshire Ripper drama The Long Shadow
True Crime

ITV’s ‘The Long Shadow’ drama explores Yorkshire Ripper murders

Former soap stars Katherine Kelly and Charley Webb both star in the chilling series

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An ITV series about the horrifying murders of Peter Sutcliffe is currently being filmed, and we can reveal the Yorkshire Ripper drama is called The Long Shadow.

The cast and crew have been pictured filming the ITV drama which will star two former soap star favourites.

So where is it being filmed, who’s in the cast and when will it start?

Here’s everything we know so far about the Yorkshire Ripper drama The Long Shadow.

Katherine Kelly stars in Katherine Kelly in Murdertown on Sky
Katherine Kelly, seen here in Murdertown, will portray Peter Sutcliffe’s second victim Emily Jackson (Credit: Sky)

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The Long Shadow on ITV1 – what is Yorkshire Ripper drama about?

The Long Shadow is an ITV drama retelling the heinous crimes of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, and the subsequent police manhunt to find him.

The manhunt involved more than 1,000 police officers over the course of five years.

The series will focus on the police’s desperate cat-and-mouse hunt for Peter Sutcliffe – who killed 13 and attempted to kill seven others.

The dramatisation will also focus on the lives of his victims – much like the recent BBC series Four Lives.

The series will focus on the lives of the Sutcliffe’s victims, the loved ones they left behind, and the everlasting toll the investigation took on the detectives who led the investigation.

ITV has said the true-crime drama will be the first definitive account of the case.

Accordingly, it will draw on the most extensive archive of the investigation, with source material including hundreds of case files, interview transcripts and police reports.

The Yorkshire Ripper drama comes from the makers of Des and White House Farm.

ITV drama boss Polly Hill said: “This promises to be a definitive look at this infamous case.”

Speaking further, Polly said ITV will “sensitively” dramatise the case.

Executive Producer Willow Grylls commented: “George Kay’s beautifully nuanced scripts shines a light on a case that defined the second half of the twentieth century and continues to cast a long shadow.”

Who is in the cast of Yorkshire Ripper drama The Long Shadow?

Katherine Kelly stars as Peter Sutcliffe’s second victim Emily Jackson.

Of course, Katherine is no stranger to crime dramas, having starred in Innocent, Criminal: UK, Liar and Cheat.

She’s perhaps most famous for playing Becky McDonald in Coronation Street, Jodie Shackleton in Happy Valley, Lady Mae in Mr Selfridge, and Jane Lowry in Strike Back.

Katherine, 42, is currently portraying Elizabeth Sutherland in the hugely popular BBC One series Gentleman Jack.

Meanwhile, fellow soap star Charley Webb has also been cast in the series.

Photographers spotted the actress, 34, wearing a police uniform on-location for the upcoming ITV drama about the Yorkshire Ripper.

Emmerdale fans know Charley for playing Debbie Dingle from 2002 to 2021.

Apart from Emmerdale, her only other role was as Kathy Carberry in one episode of The Royal in 2006.

Charley told fans she’s got two exciting roles coming up this year.

She posted on Instagram in April: “Costume fitting today for my new job.

“I’m excited for the next two projects I’m filming over the summer and to get back on screen.”

ITV has not announced any other cast members for The Long Shadow as yet.

The channel has not confirmed who will play the lead role of Peter Sutcliffe.

Charley Webb as Debbie Dingle in Emmerdale
Charley Webb, who played Debbie Dingle in Emmerdale, stars as a police officer (Credit: ITV)

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Is it based on a book?

The Long Shadow is based upon Michael Bilton’s book, Wicked Beyond Belief: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.

Screenwriter George Kay has adapted the book for TV.

Director Paul Whittington said: “By placing the victims, their families and the survivors at the heart of this story, George has crafted an excavation of British social history that goes far beyond the infamy.

“His writing sensitively reveals and humanises the untold number of lives devastated by these crimes, and powerfully exposes the enduring legacy of the failings of the biggest manhunt in British criminal history.

“This is a vital story about class prejudice, pervasive and entrenched societal sexism and women simply not being heard that still has relevance today.”

Writer George Kay added: “In a story full with eye-watering statistics, one for me has always stood out: Peter Sutcliffe rendered 23 children motherless.

“That one fact in itself demands that any definitive drama about this case should encompass far more than just the story of a police investigation.

“We will focus not just on the police, but the victims, their families, those who were attacked but not believed, and those whose lives were permanently changed.

“This is not the story of a Ripper who hailed from Yorkshire, but the story of how Yorkshire was ripped apart.”

Where is Yorkshire Ripper drama The Long Shadow being filmed?

Cast and crew are currently filming in and around Leeds.

In fact, filming has taken place very close to the home of one of Peter Sutcliffe’s survivors.

Yorkshire Ripper victim Marcella Claxton watched as the drama was filmed yards from her home.

Maxine, who survived a hammer attack, lives in a red-brick terraced home in Chapeltown where the cast and crew were filming the drama.

Reports say that some of the victims’ families and survivors of the serial killer, including Marcella, are believed to have been in contact with the makers of the upcoming mini-series.

Peter Sutcliffe attacked Marcella when she was 20.

She left a house party in Leeds, in May 1976, and became his next victim.

He mistook her for a sex worker and hit her over the head, leaving her needing brain surgery and more than 50 stitches.

Marcella was four months’ pregnant at the time of the attack, and tragically lost the baby.

The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe
Journalists named Peter Sutcliffe The Yorkshire Ripper after he murdered at least 13 women (Credit: Shutterstock)

How many episodes is The Long Shadow?

ITV confirmed they were making a drama based on the Yorkshire Ripper way back in 2020.

A year later, they revealed it would be a six-part drama.

At the time, the series had the working title The Yorkshire Ripper.

However, a four-part Netflix documentary series entitled The Ripper recently upset the families of the victims.

As ED! reported at the time, many criticised the name of the show.

Richard McCann, son of first known victim Wilma, expressed anger towards the show.

He tweeted: “Can people of Twitter please show @NetflixUK how inappropriate it to call their new series about the crimes of Sutcliffe ‘The Ripper’.

“Nine families affected by his crimes have asked for it to be changed out of respect for our mothers/sisters/daughters.”

The families of Peter Sutcliffe’s victims said hearing the term “ripper” is traumatising for them to hear.

This may explain why ITV have changed the name of their drama to The Long Shadow.

When is The Long Shadow start date?

ITV has not yet confirmed when the drama will hit screens.

Cast including Katherine Kelly and Charley Webb are currently filming the drama on set.

That probably means we won’t get to see the series until later this year or early 2023.

What does The Long Shadow mean?

The Long Shadow means to have a bad influence over something that lasts for a long time.

So it’s a horribly appropriate title for the new ITV drama.

There is already a 2017 feature-length documentary called The Long Shadow about slavery and the history of racism in the US.

This is totally unrelated to the new Yorkshire Ripper drama in ITV1.

A 2019 murder mystery film of the same name is also not related.

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The Yorkshire Ripper drama Long Shadow will air in late 2022 or early 2023 on ITV1.

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Helen Fear
TV Editor