The Hunt for Jack the Ripper

The case of Jack the Ripper, Britain's most notorious ever serial killer, was perhaps the first to be sensationalised by the media. The Ripper was known to have murdered at least five women in gruesome fashion after sexually assaulting them. His trademark was to remove part of the victim's body, such as a kidney, as a trophy. The case was surrounded by much confusion and hoax, and to this day has never been solved. But there are numerous scholars who remain fascinated by the intellectual challenge it presents.

'...the continued presence in our streets of some monster or monsters in human form, whose desperate wickedness goes free and undetected by force of its own terrible audacity...'

The Daily Telegraph in 1888 was not given to understatement. The Ripper's reign coincided with the growth in the influence of the popular press. Every day, pages of editorial whipped London into a frenzy about the killer in its midst. This helped to stir up the myth and muddle surrounding the case.

In this period before forensic science, catching a killer was even harder than it is today. Police relied on detailed drawings of the scene of the crime, autopsies and statements to solve a case. Only one of the Ripper victims was actually photographed at the scene of the crime. Indeed, a full picture of the Ripper's methods has only been pieced together relatively recently.

The incomplete clues left behind have tantalised scholars for years. With the help of some of these scholars, we examine the evidence again and look at competing theories as to the real identity of Jack the Ripper.

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)