When BBC axed the period crime drama Ripper Street last year fans were outraged. Despite the BBC citing declining viewership as the reason for its cancellation, fans launched an online petition which attracted more than 40,000 signatures. Now Amazon has thrown Ripper Street a lifeline. In a surprising move, Amazon Prime Instant Video has acquired the online rights for seasons one and two and has commissioned a third series.
Series three will debut online and will air on BBC One a few months later. The BBC will continue to make a contribution to production costs of the new season, while other broadcast partners – including BBC America and the Irish Film Board – will remain on board as part of the new arrangement. Filming will begin in May.
The cast are of course thrilled to be given another opportunity. Matthew Macfadyen, who plays Det Insp Edmund Reid in the drama, said he was “delighted” Ripper Street had been saved.”We all thought that it had legs,” he said. “We didn’t feel like it was petering out.”
Jerome Flynn, who plays who plays Bennet Drake, thanked fans on his Facebook page. “It’s wonderful news, and I want to thank you all for being such a huge part in getting the show back after what felt like a premature death. So congratulations all of you! I know everyone involved is keen to make it even better than the 1st two series, and I really do believe we can do that.”
This is a first for British television. Netflix has already tested this in the US. In 2013 they premiered new episodes of Arrested Development, which had been cancelled by Fox despite a dedicated audience. Netflix had also revived the US version of Scandinavian drama The Killing. While the BBC says similar deals are not expected to follow, Amazon’s Tim Leslie said if audiences loved a cancelled show and wanted to bring it back, they would consider it.
Third season of The Hour, anyone?