'Ripper Street' gets Dublin preview


The Irish cast and crew of the BBC drama Ripper Street were given the first opportunity tonight to see the finished series which was shot entirely in Dublin.

The Light House Cinema in Smithfield provided the venue for the screening of the first of eight episodes of the crime drama which is set in London’s East End at the time of Jack the Ripper.

Ripper Street was filmed in the former Clancy Barracks beside Clancy Quay in Dublin’s Islandbridge.

Clancy Quay was once one of the Celtic Tiger’s most ambitious developments, but is now in receivership.

Fortunately, the preservation of a series of Victorian warehouses and streets made it an ideal location for the claustrophic confines of London’s East End in the aftermath of arguably the most famous unsolved murders in crime history.

The first episode featured a murder, prostitution and the first attempts at pornography just after the moving camera was invented.

The series was filmed in Ireland because of the suitable location and because Section 481 tax breaks made it cost-efficient for the production company, Tiger Aspect.

The series stars Matthew Macfadyen as Inspector Edmund Reid, Jerome Flynn as Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake and American actor Adam Rothenberg as police surgeon Captain Homer Jackson.

Of the three, Rothenberg turned up for the preview. The writer Richard Warlow also made an appearance.

Ripper Street is already being heavily promoted by the BBC though no slot has been decided for it yet this autumn. The BBC is making a big play on the series location in Whitechapel which is near what is now the site of the Olympic Park. The catchline states: “As the sun sets on the Olympics, darkness rises”.

The series was co-produced by Dublin-based Element Pictures, the production company behind the much talked-about Irish film What Richard Did which is in cinemas at present.

Element is now making another series for the BBC in Dublin entitled Quirke which is based on novelist John Banville’s crime novels which are written under the nom de plume Benjamin Black. The €9 million production, which will star Gabriel Byrne, is set exclusively in Dublin during the 1950s and will start filming soon.

The success of countries like Ireland in attracting big British television productions is currently being looked at by the UK Government.

British chancellor George Osborne has declared his intentions to try and repatriate many of these dramas who have moved abroad because of financial incentives.

A consultation document has suggested that tax incentives should be introduced for high-end dramas costing at least £1 million (€1.2 million) per episode.

Some 20 submissions have been made to the Department of Finance here in relation to a review of Section 481 tax reliefs.

Irish Film Board chief executive James Hickey said he was confident that Ireland could remain competitive irrespective of what the British Government does.

“As far as we are concerned Section 481 is competitive and will remain so whatever they bring in,” he said.