My introduction to Jack the Ripper started as far as I remember in 1979, I was 17 and a few months at the most. It was the movie Murder by Decree with Christopher Plummer and James Mason. I thought it was good fun and I enjoyed the movie. The second introduction (as far as I remember) was Jack the Ripper, the mini series with Michael Caine as Abberline. His sidekick Lewis Collins (Bodie, the professionals) was his sidekick and the heartthrob Jane Seymour was there as well. This was the first introduction to the serial killer in a more serious way. And I took notice. I personally did not like From Hell, but it still matters. You see with all the less favourable stuff on TV, there is a side people forget. Michael Caine might have given it a spin, but the life of Frederick Abberline should have been made into a (mini) series long ago.
His life has all the stuff a decent series needs and Abberline was nothing short of a police titan. We might overlook the last line as “Chief Inspector Abberline retired from the police on 8 February 1892, having received 84 commendations and awards.” Yet in today’s world people see a policeman as special when he gets a mere 10% of that (not dissing the police here). And the setting to make the series revolve not around chapters but awards and commendations has never been done before. The setting (still unverified) where we are given “was hired by the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1904. Initially, he worked in casinos in Monte Carlo to find customers who were cheating. He then returned to England and continued working for the agency, until another retirement in 1904. He then bought a home, “Estcourt”, 195 Holdenhurst Road, Springbourne, Bournemouth.“ Should not be overlooked. It gives the series a final episode and a larger international interest.
And in all these years Hulu, Netflix, and Apple+ never saw this staring in their faces? How come?
A sideline not to be avoided could be that Abberline’s sidekick George Godley had his own successes over time. Two interesting characters of the London Metropolitan police and the only thing people look at was a mass murderer. But I give you this, find me any policeman who got 84 commendations and awards and you might just have a sequel in play.
When we see the series and the less interesting sides of Hulu, Netflix, Apple+ and every other stream provider none of them gave it a seemingly serious thought to look at London and its metropolitan police force in one of the most stirring time settings that London had in the 19th century. And in years of 35000 script submissions no one seemingly had the idea to look at the other side of the Atlantic river (at least that is what I think they didn’t do).
So what is/was stopping them?