Part One – The New Taste for Blood – Dr Lucy Worsley examines the dark history behind Britain’s fascination with murder. In the first edition, she explores how notorious killings were transformed into popular entertainment in the first half of the 19th century: Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, Suffolk’s notorious 1827 Red Barn murder, and the so-called “Bermondsey horror” of 1849.
Part Two – Detection Most Ingenious – The historian explores how science and detection influenced the popular culture of murder during Victorian times. She talks with Kate Summerscale about the case of the Murder at Road Hill House.
Writers including Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were fascinated by grisly crimes, and the literary genre that came out of it captured the imagination of readers. The presenter also reveals that when Jack the Ripper began his reign of terror in London at the same time Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was published, the idea of the serial killer was introduced to the British public.
Part Three – The Golden Age – In this last part, the historian tells the story of one of the first high-profile killers – Dr Crippen, who was hanged in 1910 for poisoning and dismembering his wife – before turning her attention to the interwar period, when detective fiction reached the peak of its popularity at the hands of authors Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers. After undergoing the elaborate initiation ceremony of the Detection Club, which was set up by a group of British writers in 1930, Lucy considers how Alfred Hitchcock’s films and Graham Greene’s books eclipsed the traditional murder-mystery story in the depiction of homicide.
A very interesting three part documentary in which I heard for the first time about very famous murder cases in the UK.
I’ve seen months ago both TV Dramas with Paddy Considine as Mr Whicher, the first case was fascinating; the second was pretty boring and lacked credibility – maybe because it was fictional.
Personally, I can’t read true crime stories. I’m an Agatha Christie fan and I usually like those whodunits knowing that it’s fiction. Anyhow, Lucy Worsley gave me the wish to discover Dorothy L. Sayers’ novels and her characters – Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.