Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Rupert Penry Jones, Phil Davis, Steve Pemberton, Claire Rushbrook, Sam Stockwell, Ben Bishop, Angela Pleasance, Joan Blackham, Michael Fitzgerald, James Woolley, Diane Kent, Charlotte Hope, Ann Davies.
The final case of the fourth series sees the idea of the evil that has been haunting the detective team in Whitechapel fixated on what was underneath the roads, the back alleyways and deep in the sewers. The sewers which take the waste out of the East End and in which a clan of cannibals have started to take the virtuous and honourable off the streets and like time, devouring them and leaving only the memory of them behind.
The fourth series has taken a much darker tone to previous series, for this all the cast have risen to the cause and given great performances including Sam Stockwell who’s Jekyll and Hyde like appearance has been startling, Phil Davis who effortlessly gives a consummate performance as the much put upon detective and Rupert Penry Jones in perhaps his finest television role.
The imagery of Rupert Penry Jones going from Angel of the Lord as he appears to the group of cannibals that were about to slaughter one of their own in a ritual offering, to the sight of a Pontius Pilate like act of washing his hands in an undertaking of self absolvent as the news creeps through that all eight of his suspects have died in a motor accident was sensitively handled. In others it could have been seen as crass but in a series that deals with the idea of ancient evil in London’s East End, it was a fitting and decent close to the end of the fourth series.
Whitechapel might not be everybody’s cup of tea, the thought of one area of the U.K. holding so much malevolence, death and destruction but as Steve Pemberton’s methodical fact exploring and myth arousing character might suggest; it was after all built on plague pits. It remains one of the most historically fascinating places in London to visit and to immerse one’s self in, whether day or night.
Ian D. Hall