Ripper Street

What Use Our Work? - S1-E8

Factual error: When reading out the list of the day's crimes, Artherton mentions two "teenaged" girls. Use of this term is not recorded in America until the 1920s and in Britain until the late 1940s. The series is set in 1889 and the speech used by the characters is consistently very much the speech of the time - it has not been updated for modern understanding.

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A Last Good Act - S5-E5

Factual error: Chief Inspector Abberline's warrant card is signed by Commissioner Leonard Dunning. No Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police had this name or anything like it.

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I Need Light - S1-E1

Factual error: Inspector Reid calls Inspector Abberline "Chief Inspector." Frank Abberline was not promoted to Chief Inspector until 1890 but the episode takes place in 1889. (00:16:05)

Men of Iron, Men of Smoke - S4-E4

Factual error: In the flashback to the courtroom scene at the beginning, there is a gavel sitting before the judge. British judges have never used gavels.

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Men of Iron, Men of Smoke - S4-E4

Factual error: One character refers to another as a wanker. The first recorded usage of this term in a sexual sense is in 1950 and as an insult in 1972. The episode is set in 1897 and its language is consistently that of the time; it doesn't use modern language.

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A White World Made Red - S4-E3

Factual error: DI Reid is sworn back in as a constable by DI Drake. Only a magistrate can swear in a police constable, which is a judicial office.

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Some Conscience Lost - S4-E2

Factual error: As Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain had no authority over India, which was not considered to be one of the colonies. There was a separate Secretary of State for India, a position held in 1897 by Lord George Hamilton.

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Some Conscience Lost - S4-E2

Factual error: The depiction of the hanging is completely inaccurate. By the 1890s, the gallows at Newgate were housed in a room within the prison, not in the courtyard. Prisoners' wrists and legs were pinioned before they were hanged, not left free as depicted. The long drop was used in Britain from the 1870s, not the short drop depicted. The large knot depicted was not used in Britain (although it was in America) ; a simple sliding loop was actually used, and this was positioned under the jawbone at the side of the neck, not at the back of the neck, which would quite probably not have broken the neck, leaving the person to strangle to death.

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Show generally

Factual error: Assistant Commissioner Dove's accent is working-class London. Although he is a fictional character, it is inconceivable that an assistant commissioner in the 1890s would sound like this (or be as young as he is). All officers above the rank of superintendent in those days were men who were transferred directly into senior rank, having previously had long and distinguished careers in senior ranks in the army, colonial police, civil service or law. The first man to be promoted to senior rank from the lower ranks was James Olive, who was promoted to assistant commissioner in 1920 at the age of 64 and after 48 years service.

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The Strangers' Home - S4-E1

Factual error: The Risaldar-Major is in command of the Bengal Lancers. The commandants of Indian regiments were actually British, as were many of the officers. The Risaldar-Major was the senior Indian officer of a cavalry regiment, but held a similar position to the Regimental Sergeant Major in a British regiment. He certainly did not command it. Although commanding great respect, he was junior to all the regiment's British officers.

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Show generally

Factual error: It is implied throughout the show (and explicitly stated a couple of times) that Reid is in command of H Division. From the earliest days of the Metropolitan Police, a division was actually commanded by a uniformed superintendent, not a detective inspector.

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Occurrence Reports - S5-E6

Factual error: Everyone celebrates the beginning of the new century at midnight on 31 December 1899. In fact, the beginning of the 20th century was celebrated (correctly) at midnight on 31 December 1900. In those days people still knew that a decade (and a century) begins with a year 1, not a year 0.

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Season 4 generally

Factual error: A woman who was sentenced to death while pregnant, as Long Susan was, was never hanged. Her sentence was stayed until she gave birth and then always commuted to imprisonment. Most such women were released after only a few years.

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