The reality show is king while dramas like Ripper Street can't drag in the audiences.
Ripper Street has been cancelled due to poor ratings, leaving fans of the show devastated. The period crime thriller won’t move past the second season, which airs in the next two weeks. Jerome Flynn, who plays Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake, revealed the news to BBC London 94.9 last night (Wednesday, Dec 4th).
Ripper Street is no more...
"We found out this week that the third series of Ripper Street isn't going. We're all in shock,” he explained. "It was up against I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and that's been cited as one of the reasons in terms of viewing figures.” The decision comes just weeks after ITV announced the end of Whitechapel, about a modern crime unit investigating murders in east London.
Flynn isn’t wrong: the show was up against the popular reality TV show, much to Julia Raeside's disdain. “Some might question the BBC's wisdom in putting one of the finest period dramas it has produced in a decade up against a ratings juggernaut such as ITV's I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here,” wrote Raeside for The Guardian. “But Inspector Reid (played by Matthew MacFadyen) and his motley band of crime-stoppers at Division H will be no more in 14 days time.”
Ripper Street's first series launched with 7.89m in 2012, but the latest episode, which aired on Monday, December 2nd, attracted an overnight audience of just 3.26m. That drop in viewers lead to the BBC’s decision, but it would be interesting to see the iPlayer figures, as many are watching on demand drama now that the platform is even more widely available.
Joseph Mawle as inspector Jedediah Shine
"We're all in absolute shock because it's a wonderful job and we feel like it's kind of this unfinished work. So we're hoping it will turn around if anyone from the BBC is listening. There's these wonderful storylines which Richard (Warlow) and Toby (Finlay), the writers, have marked out and it's one of the most captivating characters I've played and also been part of in terms of the story, so it is suddenly like a marriage being broken," added Flynn.
A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are very proud of Ripper Street which has enjoyed two highly ambitious series on BBC One. However, the second series didn't bring the audience we hoped and in order to make room for creative renewal and new ideas it won't be returning."