The Diary of Jack The Ripper Cover Why the f*ck did Jack the Ripper need to have a diary for? Huh? To log his accounts in? Oh yes, I can hear him say "I best deduct my expenditure for my dry cleaning bill, because blood stains are very expensive to, wash don't you know". Sigh! I don't know. I best calm down by watching this 73-minute documentary made in 1993.

The Diary of Jack The Ripper : The Film - The Book

This special length feature tries its best to explain away the mystery surrounding the alleged secret diary of Jack the Ripper. ‘Death Wish’ director, Michael Winner, presents this program, whilst legendary 'Dr Who' actor, Tom Baker, narrates it.

Moreover, their are a whole host of interviews on offer, all of which relay hindsight's, conjecture, and facts, by such noted personages as forensic experts, police representatives, and, of course,Ripperologists.

Prudently all of these elements are amalgamated together with a series of pre-recorded re-enactments, just to present a formal chronology of the Jack the Ripper killings, as well as the life of times of the man that this diary eludes to as being Jack the Ripper - noted Liverpudlian cotton mill merchant, James Maybrick.

Here, check this out:

So what did Jack do? Well, in 1888, the worlds first serial killer, now dubbed 'Jack the Ripper' killed five women in the Whitechapel district of London. His true identify has never been discovered.

Did Jack have a diary? The story starts in 1993, when a man from Liverpool called Mike Barrett, is given an old worn down ledger by his friend, Tony Devereux, something which he is led to believe comes from the noted Victorian murderer, Jack the Ripper. Now Mike does question Tony about the origins of this book. But alas, when Tony dies, Mike seeks his answers elsewhere – leading him to the press, who in turn, goes to a noted expert in this field, Shirley Harrison, whom discover's the 'James Maybrick' angle.

Who is James Marybrick? James was born in 1838 and died in 1889. He was a hypochondriac cotton mill merchant from Liverpool, who built up his business with a lot of travelling and a lot of hard earned savvy. It is believed that his young wife, Florance Maybrick, was the reason why he killed the women in Whitechapel - because of an affair she was having. Also, it is believed that she was the person who drugged him to his death - which is why she was sentenced to imprisonment in a court of law.

So is James, Jack? Err - no comment. You see, in minuet detail, the history of Jack the Ripper is overlaid upon the movements of the man that the diary eludes to as being Jack the Ripper, James Maybrick, giving the professionals scope to either substantiate or disprove if he is the genuine article or not. Plus, in addition to this, specialists in the field of ink reproduction, parchment analysis, and hand writing, are additionally utilized to give their official opinions in the diary’s age, and characteristics.

However, at the end of the day, nothing is definitive in the outcome. Although the consensus is leaning more towards a positive result, rather than a negative one, due to a timepiece connecting James to Jack.

Now before I start off my review on 'The Diary of Jack The Ripper', I do have something that I would like to confess to all of you first


OK, just kidding,HSSSSS! Kind of. Well, I am a bit of a Ripperologist all in all, and, if I may say so myself, I am quite knowledgeable on the whole 'Autumn of Terror' hullabaloo. So, to put it very mildly, I may be slightly biased when I regurgitate my review about this very informative program.

Ahem. To begin, WHAT A LOAD OF SH*T! HA! Sorry, I could not help myself.

The Diary of Jack The Ripper James Maybrick

Seriously though, when I started to watch this documentary, I was aided by a shed load of hindsight about this particular ‘diary case’, as well as the whole ambiance of Jack the Ripper lore. Nevertheless, I have to admit, this program did give me something unexpected - something new.

James Maybrick
You see, not only did it delve quite extensively on the background of the diary, of Jack, and of James himself, but it also gives a very complementary re-enactment of the whole affair. Granted, on some level, the standard of this is very ‘TV’ in its execution. Still, I did find that the actors playing the parts helped to illustrate the life and times of a man I was not too familiar with. Also, to complement this aspect as well, all the experts are given some time to shine with their respective hypothesis, which allows the documentary as a whole to be more full in both nature and argument.

Fair dues, here and there, the overall story does get fragmented within the mixture of re-enactments – interviews – and discussions. Though I did find that the narration by Mister bold voice himself, Tom Baker, sandwiches all of these elements together quite nicely, thus giving the film a more uniform feel in a somewhat jumbled manner.

The Diary of Jack The Ripper Shadow

OK – OK – OK, I know what I just said does not really make that much sense within the scheme of things. But then again, a story about an unsolved murder being resolved by an old book some scouse git got from a bloke in the pub, does not make much sense either.

Anyhow, 'The Diary Of Jack The Ripper' is a must see documentary for all fans of true-crime, Victorian re-enactments, or of the killer himself, Jack the Ripper, HahHahHAHhHAH!

Please note, as a footnote to this review, you might be interested in reading this casebook article about Mike Barrett (click here for more information).