Whitechapel, Series Four, Case Two. Television Review. I.T.V.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7/10

Cast: Rupert Penry Jones, Phil Davies, Steve Pemberton, Sam Stockman, Ben Bishop, Hannah Walters, Mandeep Dhillon, Munir Khairdin, Hugh Mitchell, Natasha Joseph, Angela Pleasance, Gavin Marshall, John Hodgkinson, Tom Beard.

American television programmes that would be considered on par with the I.T.V. detective thriller Whitechapel would no doubt scream for the sense of history that surrounds the East-End of London, the chilling residue of time, death, murder and mayhem that seem to come out of every pore and alleyway of the area. America’s loss is Britain’s gain especially when it comes to Whitechapel and its abundance of historical murders that can be re-enacted with a new novel twist by today’s modern writers.

The latest two part story sees the idea of vengeance, restorative justice, identity and plain old fashioned weirdness taken through its paces and given the type of gore that once had cinema attendees gripped and which made Anthony Perkins a star. The winding roads of London lead out to the East-End and point yet again to another series of perhaps unfathomable murders in which the team must solve.

It is almost a shame to use Whitechapel for the series, perhaps history is too much of a pull to set a series that deals with the gruesome and disturbing to set it in such places as Islington, Paddington or Clapham but history is certainly a great tool for writers and yet again Whitechapel shows why it has such a reputation when it deals with those who walked its streets in the past.

As one more mystery is solved and yet another killer evades justice as he is dispatched before anyone in the Whitechapel Police can place a pair of handcuffs around him, another is slowly building; that of the unease that is surrounding each officer, the prank calls, the seeping mould in the case room, the near Jekyll and Hyde appearances of the young Detective Constable and the growing alarm of Phil Davies as he confronts God-knows what in the unlit corridors of the police station. Throughout it all the malignant presence of the old lady, played with abundant creepy charisma by the superb Angela Pleasance is not only an interesting diversion in the drama but also a great addition to a programme dealing in the macabre.

Case two of the latest series might not have had the ominous feel of the opening episode and the criminal certainly had all the hall marks of owing far too much to the Psycho series of films that at first disturbed viewers to the bone but then became too much of a chore to take seriously but at least Whitechapel didn’t stray too far into the corrupted world of Norman Bates before pulling back and leaving itself open to a more credible ending.

The more you know about Whitechapel, the more it seems to seep into the bone… certainly enough to put you on edge.

Ian D. Hall