The Ripper And the Whoniverse, Part 5

This post explores the most recent Jack the Ripper references in Doctor Who media, namely the three-part comic series, The Ripper’s Curse. Released last year by IDW Publishing, and written by Tony Lee, this graphic novel offers another fictional interpretation of the Whitechapel Murders. Unlike Matrix, this story features many real-life people involved in the case. Now, the Eleventh Doctor must stop Jack’s reign of terror.
Part One opens in the early hours of September 30th, 1888. A stranger offers to walk ‘Long Liz’ home to Spitalfields. Sensing another customer, the prostitute agrees, and on reaching Berner Street she proffers a bag of “cashous” sweets, but he suddenly stuns her with a nerve paralytic. By 1am, Liz lies dead, and as Louis Diemschutz turns his cart into Dutfield’s Yard he makes a grim discovery. The killer (now reverting to human form) flees just as the TARDIS materialises nearby. As the Doctor exits, his sonic screwdriver detects Kryon energy, which has pulled his ship to Earth. The police activity in the street attracts the travellers and the Doctor is asked to examine the murdered woman: “her throat was cut, she died… instantly” he comments, and rushes off to confront the same stranger. The Doctor discovers “a reptile in a shimmer suit…” [i] emitting “a lot of… radiation… from the Matrua Nebula.” Meanwhile, Amy and Rory introduce themselves as Miss Marple [ii] and Inspector Clouseau [iii], of CSI London!
We then witness Sir Charles Warren being quizzed by Tom Bullen of the Central News Agency, about the Ripper and the ‘Dear Boss’ letter [iv]. Warren declares the correspondence a hoax, then is informed of this victim’s details: “Elizabeth Stride, aged 44, throat slashed, killler interrupted” [3]. She had been seen earlier by PC Smith, with a fair-haired man. Warren then reads Rory’s ID from the psychic paper: he’s the Earl of Leadworth, the actual inspiration for Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes!
Amy now realises the truth – this is “the night of the double murder” and they must get to Mitre Square to save Catherine Eddowes [4] – “she’s next!” Inspector Frederick Abberline now arrives and deduces that the killer is right-handed, contrary to current opinion [v].
Amy sees the alien Ripper as she enters the Square, but she’s too late to prevent the next canonical murder, and is herself stunned by a dart to her neck. The Doctor appears just in time to save Amy by attacking the reptile’s noise-sensitive “tympanic membranes” with his screwdriver. The police arrive and arrest the Doctor at this new murder scene. Bullen announces, news-vendor style “…Ripper captured!”
“Next: The Ripper’s Gift”
 [i] Akin to the ‘Shimmer’ technology employed by the Vinvocci in The End of Time.
[ii] Agatha Christie’s English spinster sleuth, Jane Marple, appeared in 12 crime novels and 20 short stories, and in many film, TV, radio, and stage versions (she is also mentioned in The Unicorn and the Wasp by a tactless Donna: “Come on Agatha, what would Miss Marple do?”).
[iii] Bungling French detective, Jacques Clouseau, appeared in The Pink Panther films, and was played by Peter Sellers. It’s telling that in comic-form, Rory is still percieved as a bumbler, and given the guise of Clouseau. Later however, Rory presents himself (via the psychic paper) as a Dr. Joseph Bell-like figure, who actually inspired the uber-detective, Holmes. There is a long tradition of Ripper/Holmes fiction, and Conan Doyle even theorised a ‘Jill the Ripper’ suspect – read Dr. Watson’s account of the killings in Dust and Shadow (by Lyndsay Faye, 2009) and the new ebook, Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes by Bernard Schaffer. Doyle met Bell in 1877, and served as his clerk in Edinburgh. Their working relationship was the basis of Murder Rooms (BBC, 2000-01): the first serial even featured Dr Thomas Cream (1850-1892), another candidaite for Jack. Supposedly, Bell submitted the name of his Ripper suspect to the police, and a week later the murders ceased. Doyle appeared in John Peel’s Evolution (Virgin, 1994) and Revenge of the Judoon by Terrance Dicks (BBC, 2008), and he was even known to Redvers Fenn-Cooper, (see Ghost Light, 1989).
[iv] Inspector John Littlechild, who named Dr. Tumblety as a Ripper suspect in 1913, also revealed that journalist Bullen (in fact, Thomas Bulling) and his editor, John Moore, were the true authors of the ‘Dear Boss’ letter.
[v] Here, Rory compares (the real Inspector) Abberline to (the fictional one, played by) Johnny Depp, as seen in From Hell.

About ecklefecken

Whovian/Pethead/Tartan Noir reader/Ripperologist/Blogger
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