Yorkshire Ripper Drama 'The Long Shadow' Will Premiere on Sundance Now In November

David Morrissey as DCS George Oldfield staring into the middle distance in 'The Long Shadow'

 David Morrissey as DCS George Oldfield in 'The Long Shadow'

(Photo: ITV)

American streamer Sundance Now will introduce audiences to the story of the infamous Yorkshire Ripper with true crime drama The Long ShadowThe seven-part series will premiere in November and promises to bring a new perspective to this well-documented story by grounding its depiction of a killer's terrible crimes in the very human lives of those who were most harmed.

The drama focuses on the five-year hunt for serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, otherwise known as the Yorkshire Ripper, who was convicted of murdering thirteen women and attempting to kill seven others between 1975 and 1980. The name "Yorkshire Ripper" is, of course, a reference to the infamous Jack the Ripper and reflects Sutcliffe's similar focus on women, particularly those in red-light districts. Like his predecessor, he was likely drawn to both the vulnerability of the sex workers and poor residents of these areas, as well as the perceived police disinterest in the safety of these people. He was ultimately arrested in 1981 and sentenced to twenty concurrent sentences of life in prison, which were ultimately converted to a whole life order (i.e. a life sentence without any possibility of parole or conditional release) in 2010.

Meticulously researched, the series is based on Wicked Beyond BeliefMichael Bilton’s critically acclaimed account of the case, as well as hundreds of case files, interview transcripts, and police reports from the archive of the investigation.  Like many current true crime dramas focused on serial killers from the late 20th century in both the U.S. and the U.K., The Long Shadow is attempting to adapt its story with an eye to prioritizing victims' perspectives rather than the darker, more sensationalistic aspects of their deaths. The series title, in fact, comes from the idea that one murder has the power to cast a long shadow, devastating families and loved ones, leaving them to deal with unimaginable trauma for decades afterward and often plunging a whole society into darkness and fear.

Toby Jones as DCS Dennis Hoban and Lee Ingleby as DCS Jim Hobson on the scene of the crime in 'The Long Shadow'

Toby Jones as DCS Dennis Hoban and Lee Ingleby as DCS Jim Hobson in 'The Long Shadow'

(Photo: ITV) 

Here's the series' description: 

The definitive depiction of the desperate five-year hunt for serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, better known as the “Yorkshire Ripper.” The true crime drama takes viewers back to the 1970s and 1980s to follow the victim and survivors of the infamous serial killer, starting when mother of four, Wilma McCann, is found murdered near her home in October 1975 – and a desperate cat and mouse game ensues.

The Long Shadow boasts an A-list cast of British talent, including Toby Jones (The Wonder) as DCS Dennis Hoban, who initially led the inquiry until his sudden death in 1978. David Morrissey (The Missing) plays DCS George Oldfield, who was famously blamed for mishandling the case in myriad ways, while Lee Ingleby (The Serpent Queen) is DCS Jim Hobson, who eventually took over the case from Oldfield. Liz White (Unforgotten) and Shaun Dooley (Grantchester) play lower-level cops PS Meg Winterburn and DCS Chris Gregg.  

The series also features Katherine Kelly (Mr. Selfridge) as Emily Jackson, Daniel Mays (Magpie Murders) as her husband, Sydney Jackson, and Shaun Thomas (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) as their son, Neil Jackson. Jill Halfpenny (The Drowning) plays Doreen Hill, with Daisy Waterstone (Dalgliesh) as her daughter, Jacqueline Hill. Jasmine Lee-Jones (Dead Pixels) plays Marcella Claxton, and Molly Wright (The A Word) is Donna Deangelo; the cast also includes Alexa Davies (COBRA), Chloe Harris (The Spanish Princess), Stephen Tompkinson (DCI Banks), Jack Deam (Father Brown), and Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones).

Other notable members of the massive ensemble cast include Adam Long (Happy Valley), Ruth Madeley (Years & Years), Dorothy Atkinson (All Creatures Great & Small), Rob James-Collier (Downton Abbey), Charley Webb (Emmerdale), Steven Waddington (Slow Horses), and Kris Hitchen (Trigger Point).

All seven episodes of The Long Shadow are written by George Kay (Hijack) and directed by Lewis Arnold (Sherwood). The series is set to premiere on streamer Sundance Now beginning Thursday, November 16, with new episodes airing weekly through December 28, 2023.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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