Bradford Council bans filming for new Yorkshire Ripper drama

5 September 2022, 17:30 | Updated: 5 September 2022, 17:32

ITV's Peter Sutcliffe drama 'banned' from filming in Bradford
ITV's Peter Sutcliffe drama 'banned' from filming in Bradford. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Filming plans for a new drama about the Yorkshire Ripper have been aborted after Bradford Council banned the production from shooting in the city.

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The council’s decision to prohibit crews from using Bradford’s public areas – including streets and parks – is in a bid to avoid “participating in anything that perpetuates the memory” of the infamous serial killer.

The new ITV series, entitled The Long Shadow, is set to delve into the horrific murders committed by serial killer Peter Sutcliffe and the subsequent manhunt that ensued.

Sutcliffe, who later changed his name to Peter Coonan, died in hospital after contracting Covid in November 2020.

Sutcliffe was found guilty of the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven further victims between 1975 and 1980. Three of his victims – Patricia Atkinson, Yvonne Pearson and Barbara Leach - were all killed in Bradford.

The series is set to star former Coronation Street and Happy Valley actress Katherine Kelly, who takes on the role of Emily Jackson, the Yorkshire Ripper’s second victim.

Peter Sutcliffe murdered 13 women and attempted to murder seven more during a five year period
Peter Sutcliffe murdered 13 women and attempted to murder seven more during a five year period. Picture: LBC / Alamy

According to information retrieved by Argus & Telegraph following a Freedom of Information Request, Bradford Council and production company New Pictures engaged in extensive email communications prior to the decision.

Emails between production company New Pictures – the production company creating the series – and Bradford council read: “We understand the subject remains hugely sensitive, even now, especially for those who remember and endured the fear that Sutcliffe's crimes rained over Yorkshire.”

Although many of the details relating to individuals and organisations were redacted, the emails do reveal that a change of location was intended, however, families “thought it needed to be told in West Yorkshire”.

One particular response, understood to be from Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe, read: “I’m not keen on us participating in anything that perpetuates the memory of the man, so the answer’s no from me I’m afraid.”

Another email from the production company read: “Our series is not to perpetuate the memory of Peter Sutcliffe, nor exploit or sensationalise the nature of his crimes.”

The back-and-forth conversation came to a close following a final follow-up email from New Pictures, which was greeted with a response from 'Susan' which read: “I said no quite clearly I think?”

Sutcliffe was finally arrested in January 1981, and went on to spend the remainder of his life in prison following his conviction.

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