Peter Sutcliffe, also known as the Yorkshire Ripper by the press, terrified Yorkshire for years. The serial killer attacked at least twenty women between 1975 and 1980 before being finally caught in 1981. Since then, he has been in custody before he died of the rampant lung disease the previous year. Although Sutcliffe left clear marks in his actions, the police could not catch him for a long time. She eventually saw him during a routine inspection of his car.
The obvious excessive demands on the police then led to a special commission that uncovered numerous grievances. It would be 25 years before the so-called Byford Report was finally published. He concluded at the time that the Ripper had committed far more crimes than justice charged him. The Yorkshire-born author David Peace had first processed the events of these years in a total of four books. His works were subsequently the basis for a three-part film adaptation. The books of Peace paint a terrifying picture of that time. The screenwriter Tony Grisoni, known from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, adapted the four books to three films for television.
The Darkness Has Arrived
To work out the complexity of the literary model even better, the producers resorted to a trick. They had each of the three films directed by a different director. That makes the trilogy even more enjoyable. After all, the historical circumstances and the literary processing of David Peace are already fascinating. Here in the north of England, God seems to have forsaken people. The sun seldom shines; tensions explode in every nook and cranny. The investigators are either corrupt or incompetent.
The first film, named 1974, focuses on journalist Eddie Dunford. He goes on the trail of a girl killer, but his search quickly turns into a personal nightmare. Dunford stabs a wasp’s nest of corruption and violence. Fainted, he tries to free himself from the clutches and makes a fatal mistake. The second part, called 1980, starts years later. The Yorkshire Ripper is still not caught, so an outside investigator is needed. Peter Hunter tries his best, but he too encounters massive internal resistance. He learns that he can not keep anything under control. In the third and final film called 1983, the police finally capture the Ripper.
They even found the girl killer from 1974. The mentally disabled murderer sits in a cell from which his lawyer tries to free him. Again an individual takes up the fight against the system and wants to fight it with all means. The three films have become as different as the three stories. In the finale, the director brings the loose threads together. Only now can the construction of the story be recognized. The directors relentlessly show the drama of an area that is fighting against doom. The battle cry still applies here: This is the north, where we do what we want.