» » This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper

Short summary

This is a dramatisation of the real-life investigation into the notorious Yorkshire Ripper murders of the late 1970s, showing the effect that it had on the health and career of Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield who led the enquiry.

When the police recieve and then play a hoax tape from a man claiming to be 'Jack', the tape is the original recording sent to real life police.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Flower
    In the mid-Seventies, Northen England was plunged into deep fear after a number of prostitutes were murdered and their bodies mutilated in classic, Jack The Ripper style. Hence, the title of that this notorious serial killer gained from the press, 'The Yorkshire Ripper'.

    'This Is Personal' is a superb four-hour dramatization of the biggest manhunt in criminal history. It informs the viewers that some material and characters have been somewhat invented but that doesn't matter since all of it most is all true. It's not been juiced up with action. It remains, like the true-life event, extremely tense and suspenseful that leaves you praying that the ripper is caught soon.

    Alun Armstrong gives a powerful performance as George Oldfield, the officer in change of the investigation which ultimately dominates his life. The extreme drama comes half way through it, when a mysterious tape is sent to Oldfield. The voice claims to be 'Jack' and delivers a personal message to Oldfield. But this is really the ripper?

    Unless you already know the details, the massive and controversial search continues but tragically in almost all the wrong directions. Thirteen women have been murdered and the killer still hasn't been caught. My only advice to you is to watch this remarkable mini-series and educate yourself on the most chilling murder case the world has ever known.
  • comment
    • Author: Golden freddi
    Accurately recreating the fear, desperation and hopelessness surrounding the Ripper hunt in northern England, the film takes you along on this terrible journey.

    Alun Armstrong delivers yet another amazing performance, making you 'feel' for his character (George Oldfield) through every event of bad luck, bad judgment or bad mistakes.

    Seeing Armstrong (as poor George) deteriorate through the prolonged investigation is simply sad and shocking. Perfect for the role, Armstrong's acting can not help but make you feel sorry for the task that faced the police during the time.

    It isn't available to buy on DVD? Why not!!!
  • comment
    • Author: Kazracage
    The whole point of why the Police are made to look clueless is because I'm afraid that is exactly what happened. If you did not know about the case you would think the same way as Boba Fett, in that its that ridiculous it cannot be true. Unfortunately all the major incidents and mistakes made by the Police portrayed in this 2 part series actually did happen. We should not forget that if the Ripper was to have practised his evil ways the year 2000 he would have been caught extremely quickly with all the advances in modern technology.

    This is the late 1970s. No DNA testing, No Super Computers, No CCTV to name but a few.

    Alan Armstrong gives an absolutely first class performance of George Oldfield and steals the show.

    We are shown how much pressure the West Yorkshire Police force were under and how they were unable to deal with an investigation of such evil magnitude.

    In hindsight it is very easy to criticise the Police however the programme takes great detail in explaining how they were sidetracked by the hoax letters and tapes which allowed Sutcliffe to continue for another 3 years and how in the end he was caught not by their great detective work but by pure chance.

    If you read in detail about the Ripper case and the Police enquiry into it, some of the mishandling by The Police was astounding. If you don't know a little about the case it's easy to imagine its all fiction.

    I think this programme is excellent viewing for anyone who is unaware of the case and offers an insight into the difficulties they had in the late 1970s.

    A bit more detail could have went into the numerous alibis given for her husband by Sonia Sutcliffe as in my opinion this was the other reason, along with the tape, for him eluding capture for so long.
  • comment
    • Author: Āłł_Ÿøūrš
    ITV managed to scoop itself with this two part drama by broadcasting a brilliant two part documentary on the case a month or two earlier, and one which gained far more recognition at the BAFTAs.

    There's something pleasantly old-fashioned about this attempt at telling a very simple but tragic story: the (rather tacky) music picking up when people walk down corridors after making key discoveries, the lack of big name actors and so on, but it just feels rather flat. The period detail is very iffy: why does everyone own brand new 1979 model televisions? A small point but irritating. The drama also gets in a bit of a mess by beginning with the death of Jayne MacDonald, the first victim who wasn't a prostitute and the first one that really provoked much interest from the uncaring public and press. Yet despite the fact that after this it was acknowledged that no-one was safe, characters constantly reassure people that "he only kills pros...". While this is partly an attempt to illustrate police incomptentence, it seems bizarre a policeman would say that when he's just killed two women who aren't. The incident when the Geordie hoaxer telephoned the police to admit he was a hoaxer isn't included either, and after all the build up, it was probably a mistake to finally show Sutcliffe at all, as the shadowy figure that hovers in the background is very effective.

    I wasn't that keen on Armstrong's performance, but I feel a lot of this is the fault of the writing. The dioalogue feels very clichéd in places and determined to not point any fingers of blame at anyone.

    This is Personal is very watchable but far too innocuous. It was a shocking case and the is very little sympathy, fear or anger on display here.
  • comment
    • Author: Dusar
    It's amazing and horrible that all of this actually really happened. But even so the story remains highly unrealistic especially towards the ending, I just couldn't believe how dumb and stupid the police were at the ending! Yes, there are some tense and good moments but not as many as dumb and unrealistic moments.

    The story also uses a bit too many unneeded sideline stories about some of the main characters. It's uninteresting and distracting and even dumb at times.

    The only reason why this is a watchable mini-series is because of Alun Armstrong that is fantastic as always in roles like these.

    It really isn't THAT bad but there most certainly are better and more interesting English detectives out there to watch.

  • Series cast summary:
    Gerard Horan Gerard Horan - Detective Chief Superintendent John Domaille 2 episodes, 2000
    Stephen Moore Stephen Moore - Professor David Gee 2 episodes, 2000
    Claire Webzell Claire Webzell - Sonia Sutcliffe 2 episodes, 2000
    Paul Angelis Paul Angelis - Det. Chief Supt. Jack Ridgeway 2 episodes, 2000
    Pip Donaghy Pip Donaghy - Det. Chief Supt. Will Brooks 2 episodes, 2000
    Howard Ward Howard Ward - Det. Supt. John Stainthorpe 2 episodes, 2000
    Jim Millea Jim Millea - Det. Insp. John Boyle 2 episodes, 2000
    John Graham-Davies John Graham-Davies - Det. Insp. Tony Glendenning 2 episodes, 2000
    Andrew Readman Andrew Readman - Det. Sgt. Peter Smith 2 episodes, 2000
    David Prosho David Prosho - Det. Sgt. Parks 2 episodes, 2000
    Katharine Rogers Katharine Rogers - WPC Sue Neave 2 episodes, 2000
    Laura Richmond Laura Richmond - WPC Ruth Ford 2 episodes, 2000
    Paula J. Horton Paula J. Horton - WPC Susan Phillips 2 episodes, 2000
    Simon Lenagan Simon Lenagan - DC Cambrook 2 episodes, 2000
    Tim Dantay Tim Dantay - DC Cleasby 2 episodes, 2000
    Matt Healy Matt Healy - DC Rogan 2 episodes, 2000
    Darren Roberts Darren Roberts - DC Wakeman 2 episodes, 2000
    Martin Ronan Martin Ronan - DC Sandford 2 episodes, 2000
    Terence Mann Terence Mann - DC Marks 2 episodes, 2000
    Marcus Romer Marcus Romer - DC Barkham 2 episodes, 2000
    John Griffin John Griffin - DC Garrett 2 episodes, 2000
    David Maybrick David Maybrick - Keighley Constable 2 episodes, 2000
    Craig Cheetham Craig Cheetham - Peter Sutcliffe 2 episodes, 2000
    Maggie Ollerenshaw Maggie Ollerenshaw - Margaret Oldfield 2 episodes, 2000
    Kimberley Walsh Kimberley Walsh - Gillian Oldfield 2 episodes, 2000
    Sam Townend Sam Townend - Christopher Oldfield, aged 13 2 episodes, 2000
    Matthew Lewis Matthew Lewis - Christopher Oldfield aged 9 2 episodes, 2000
    Neil Boorman Neil Boorman - Wilf MacDonald 2 episodes, 2000
    Sue Cleaver Sue Cleaver - Sylvia Holland 2 episodes, 2000
    Suzanne Ellison Suzanne Ellison - Irene MacDonald 2 episodes, 2000
    Liz Hume Dawson Liz Hume Dawson - Chapeltown Prostitute 2 episodes, 2000
    Tanya Myers Tanya Myers - Myra Lawton 2 episodes, 2000
    Mark Benton Mark Benton - Terence Hawkshaw 2 episodes, 2000
    Jean Stevens Jean Stevens - Mrs. Hawkshaw 2 episodes, 2000
    Ken Bradshaw Ken Bradshaw - Adrian Windows 2 episodes, 2000
    Vinette Robinson Vinette Robinson - Rita Rytka 2 episodes, 2000
    Ted Robbins Ted Robbins - Chauffeur 2 episodes, 2000
    Gemma Phoenix Gemma Phoenix - Schoolgirl 2 episodes, 2000
    Peter Lorenzelli Peter Lorenzelli - Barker 2 episodes, 2000
    Laura Crossley Laura Crossley - Tracey Browne 2 episodes, 2000
    Christine Mackie Christine Mackie - Mrs. Browne 2 episodes, 2000
    James Higgins James Higgins - Stevenson 2 episodes, 2000
    Alun Armstrong Alun Armstrong - Asst. Chief Const. George Oldfield 2 episodes, 2000
    Chris Brailsford Chris Brailsford - Ken Rees 2 episodes, 2000
    Gillian Brownson Gillian Brownson - Nurse 2 episodes, 2000
    Rosy Clayton Rosy Clayton - Maggie 2 episodes, 2000
    John Duttine John Duttine - Det. Chief Supt. Jim Hobson 2 episodes, 2000
    Steven Dykes Steven Dykes - Dewsbury Sergeant 2 episodes, 2000
    Juliet Ellis Juliet Ellis - Olivia Reivers 2 episodes, 2000
    Keiran Flynn Keiran Flynn - DC Andy Laptew 2 episodes, 2000
    Simon Hanna Simon Hanna - PC Robert Hydes 2 episodes, 2000
    Zoie Kennedy Zoie Kennedy - WPC 2 episodes, 2000
    James Laurenson James Laurenson - Chief Const. Ronald Gregory 2 episodes, 2000
    Kate Layden Kate Layden - Mrs. Sykes 2 episodes, 2000
    Francis Maguire Francis Maguire - DC Greenwood 2 episodes, 2000
    Olwen May Olwen May - Diane Simpson 2 episodes, 2000
    Dominic Monaghan Dominic Monaghan - Jimmy Furey 2 episodes, 2000
    James Quinn James Quinn - Det. Sgt. Desmond O'Boyle 2 episodes, 2000
    Malcolm Raeburn Malcolm Raeburn - Bradford Sergeant 2 episodes, 2000
    Steve Ramsden Steve Ramsden - Sergeant Bob Ring 2 episodes, 2000
    Richard Ridings Richard Ridings - Det. Supt. Dick Holland 2 episodes, 2000
    Lynda Rooke Lynda Rooke - Mrs. Hill 2 episodes, 2000
    Kate Rutter Kate Rutter - Jane Barker 2 episodes, 2000
    Mike Savage Mike Savage - Det. Chief Supt. Clark 2 episodes, 2000
    Jack P. Shepherd Jack P. Shepherd 2 episodes, 2000
    John Kay Steel John Kay Steel - Professor Stanley Ellis 2 episodes, 2000
    Hannah Storey Hannah Storey - Teresa Sykes 2 episodes, 2000
    John Wheatley John Wheatley - Keith McPhail 2 episodes, 2000
    Patricia Wilcock Patricia Wilcock - Rachel Horton 2 episodes, 2000
    Stephen Woods Stephen Woods - Police Pathologist 2 episodes, 2000
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