How Accurate was the TV Series, Whitechapel?

DATED: 08.12.21

How Accurate was the TV Series, Whitechapel?

The mystery of Jack the Ripper has fascinated people for years on end and the hype is yet to die down. The first known serial killer local to Whitechapel, Jack the Ripper has dominated both the historical and the entertainment sphere. Audiences are gripped by the unknown, whilst writers thrive on the freedom of uncertainty.

In the Whitechapel TV series, Jack the Ripper is the subject of series one. We are exposed to another representation of the Ripper and his conquests; however, this time, there’s a copycat killer on the loose. Though Whitechapel is a piece of fiction, it actually encompasses many historically accurate details.

Despite the credibility of these references, how accurate is the series as a whole when it comes to representing the Jack the Ripper streets in Whitechapel?

Parrallels Between Whitechapel TV Series and History

All in all, the Whitechapel series ran for four series, with the first of these comprising of Whitechapel Jack the Ripper episodes. In the first episode, viewers are presented with an ominous figure, wearing a hat and coat, stalking the streets of London. From historical records, this seems to be the way in which the Ripper was perceived. Despite this, in the series the Ripper seems to be roaming around Tower Bridge which had not been fully erected by 1888. Following this, a flash-forward appears of the culprit from the series drowning in the Thames, much like Montague John Druitt, one of the Ripper suspects.

The main inspector of the series is named Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler. After the real-life death of Annie Chapman, the Ripper’s second victim, the first officer to reach the crime scene was Inspector Joseph Chandler.

The first victim of the series bears similarity to the story of the real-life Ripper’s final victim. Upon a character in the series discovering the new Ripper’s first casualty, the victim dies in her arms as the Ripper walks away. In reality, PC Ernest Thompson claimed to find the dying Frances Coles whilst her attacker’s footsteps disappeared into the night. In the series, this victim is described as a 43-year-old single mother, which is the identical description of the real-life Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, who was tragically the first of the Ripper’s victims.

Not only is Polly’s profile practically identical to historical records, but the injuries in the series are described in the same way as the real-life event. It’s declared that Polly didn’t bleed an excessive amount, suggesting that the killer was experienced in cutting up carcasses. This led to the search for a butcher in historical London and the fictional series alike. Additionally, the surveillance of real-life victims is mirrored within the series.

Polly’s case doesn’t end there in both the series and the real-life event; in the mortuary, her skirt is lifted to reveal the mutilations. In the series, the suspect interview reveals that it’s 31 August 2008 which is precisely 120 years after the real murder of Polly Nichols. Finally, the character who discovers the dying body describes the fleeing figure as a man in his forties of average height and build with a dark complexion. He was said to be wearing a hat with ear flaps. Once again, this fits the historical descriptions of men associated with the Ripper victims ahead of their deaths.

Our Impact on the Whitechapel Series

Evidently, true historical events had a huge impact on the Whitechapel series, and our tours had a part to play in this. In order to learn the habits of Jack the Ripper and study the background of Whitechapel in 1888, the actor who played the new Ripper attended one of our tours.

We were able to walk him through the Victorian police investigation, endless theories regarding the Whitechapel murders and the Ripper’s identity, as well as the tragically affected victims. Our tour was the closest that he could possibly get to history itself.

Book in for One of Our Tours

Our tours begin from Exit 3 of Aldgate East station. From here, we’ll walk you through all the significant spots of Jack the Ripper’s London. We’ll take you to the scene of Emma Smith’s murder, the street in which Martha Tabram was killed, and the pub where Polly died. After this, we’ll show you the street of Annie Chapman’s murder, the square where Catherine Eddowes was killed, and the street in which Mary Kelly was murdered. In addition to this, we’ll visit the hotspots of 1888 Whitechapel, revealing clues about the Ripper’s identity. By the end of the tour, you’ll be in good stead to predict who the Ripper was for yourself.

If, like many, Jack the Ripper intrigues you, don’t hesitate to book in for one of our tours. Otherwise, be sure to contact us with any questions regarding the tour.


 7 Days a Week

AT 5:00PM & 7:30PM

Tour Duration

1 hr 45 mins


The Jack the Ripper Casebook