Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Murder on the Victorian Railway, Ripper Street 2, Murdoch Mysteries

Docudrama Murder on the Victorian Railway BBC2

• Fans of Victorian era crime should be throwing their top hats in the air in coming weeks. BBC2 is showing a docu-drama about Britain's first slaying on a train – Murder on the Victorian Railway. This reconstruction of the investigation into a crime that horrified society at the time is based on the book Mr Briggs' Hat by Kate Colquhoun, and will be shown on Thursday, 21 February, at 9pm. As usual with this genre, the drama reconstructions jar a bit, but it is an interesting story. The 'iron roads' were transforming Britain, but after this murder on a Hackney-bound train in 1864 – in a first class carriage! – Victorians feared what might be lurking on this new-fangled mode of transport. Testimonies, letters, court documents and press reports are used to reanimate the story.

Jerome Flynn, Matthew Macfadyen, Adam Rothenberg in Ripper Street
Ripper Street will return to BBC1 in 2014. Audiences of 7million have convinced Beeb bosses that the ripping yarn – starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg – is worth the outlay. Creator and writer Richard Warlow say, 'I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to return to "H" Division and will be working tirelessly to ensure that those who join us each week will find ever more compelling crime-fighting thrills down on Ripper Street the second time around. The series will move forward into the 1890s.'

Crime fighting in Victorian Toronto has just returned with the sixth season of Murdoch Mysteries (Alibi channel, Mondays, 9pm). Yannick Bisson stars as William Murdoch, another detective grappling with the ground-breaking forensic techniques just emerging in the battle to catch criminals. This is a series that doesn't attract much hullabaloo, but which still attracts a devoted audience. One of its trademarks is the historical figures who cross Murdoch's path, with Winston Churchill (played by Downton Abbey's Thomas Howes) and Arthur Conan Doyle putting in appearances this time round.

Alibi Channel, Murdoch Mysteries series 6