This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (TV Mini-Series 2000) Poster

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A gripping dramatization of a terribly true story
lawrence-1425 February 2000
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.
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Excellent Docu Drama
AllyBear21 October 2005
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.
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Another credit to the genius that is Alun Armstrong
killingmeslowly8 July 2004
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!!!
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Very watchable but disappointing
simon-11827 October 2004
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.
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Based on a true story but even so, a not so likely and unrealistic 2 parts mini-series.
Boba_Fett113816 January 2005
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.

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