Matthew Macfadyen discusses BBC America’s new mystery drama “Ripper Street”

Matthew Macfadyen as Inspector Reid

Did you check out the new BBC America mystery show “Ripper Street” last night? I did, and although I do have a tendency to love anything and everything that comes out of the BBC, I have to say that I was very impressed by the show and really look forward to this series continuing. “Ripper Street” star Matthew Macfadyen recently sat down to discuss what drew him into the drama and what viewers can expect from the show. If you are on the fence about watching this new series, take a look at what he has to say.

The series struggles with the question of how a society can fight crime when the greatest criminal they have seen, Jack the Ripper, walks free. Matthew Macfadyen plays Inspector Edmund Reid, who is head of the H Division, and in charge of investigating murders and crimes in “a post-Ripper world”.

Macfadyen says that the opportunity to star in the series came to him when he least expected it, after a lull in his working schedule. With piles of scripts piling up on his desk all at once, Macfadyen was taken with “Ripper Street” right away. "Ripper Street, I thought, was the best one I got. I just loved it and that was that."

Matthew Macfadyen on Ripper Street

Macfadyen describes his character, Reid, as a “very free-thinking and forward-thinking," "very muscular" in the way he speaks " and “a very moral man. At the time, it was a different kind of morality.” Many actors take a lot of time doing research when they are going into a role in a period piece, but Macfadyen says that he took a bit of a different approach. "I tried generally not f---ing up," he laughed.

He did not do very much research into his character, because he didn’t feel that he needed to know everything about him. "When you're playing a character, you don't need to know everything about them because I don't know everything about myself. You just do what the character does and it's all in the script." Macfadyen was, however, drawn into the time period in which “Ripper Street” is set and says that he often “Found myself gazing at photos of that time period and those guys and London. Communications were on the brink of going [and there were] huge advances in communications and transport," he said. "I imagine it must have been an exciting time to be around."

If you are still unsure about what exactly to expect from the BBC America drama, Macfadyen describes the series as a period piece with a modern undertone, which is what drew him to it in the first place. "Apart from everything else, it's a cop procedural, CSI: Whitechapel," Macfadyen said. "You've got this exciting, thriller-ish narrative in a Victorian London where you can't jump in a car and type on a computer."

Did you catch “Ripper Street” last night? What do you think of the new BBC America drama?

- Ripper Street
- Matthew MacFadyen (1)
- BBC America

Written by: harrisr
Jan 20th, 2013, 5:25 am


Message Posted On Jan 20th, 2013, 7:35 am
In simple words Ripper Street is Copper in London. But it's entirely different tire of execution. Acting, Writing, Mysterys - everything top notch. I already saw 3 episodes and very impressed. Stylistically Ripper Street feels a lot like Hell on Wheels - harsh environment, rough people tormented by their demons, narrow time constraints. No second wasted, no frame filler. Copper should have retooling.
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