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Murder In The Victorian Era

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Immerse yourself in the dark details of some of England's grisliest crime stories.

Tuesday 10pm A VERY BRITISH MURDER Documentary

Historian Lucy Worsley explores how murders of 19th century Britain have become a staple in the nation's entertainment.

A Very British Murder investigates this phenomenon, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nation-wide panic in the early nineteenth century, and the case of Frederick and Maria Manning, the suburban couple who were hanged after killing Maria’s lover and burying him under their kitchen floor. Our fascination with crimes like these became a form of national entertainment, inspiring novels and plays, puppet shows and paintings, poetry and true-crime journalism. At a key turning point during the birth of modern Britain, murder entered our national psyche, and it’s been a part of us ever since.

Detection Most Ingenious Moving forward in time to the Victorian Age, Dr. Lucy Worsley explores how science and detection had an influence on the popular culture of murder. This was the era when the Middle Class Poisoner emerged. There appeared both real and fictional detectives as new heroic figures in the battle against crime.

Writers like Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were fascinated by murder and readers of all classes consumed a new genre of Sensation Fiction. In popular fiction of this kind it was not unknown for a Lady Detective to be on the case.

The late Victorian era then saw the strange co-incidence of Jack the Ripper terrorizing London at the very same time that Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde introduced the idea of the serial killer to the British public. And for the first time the genius of Sherlock Holmes appeared in print.

A Very British Murder

Updated: May 11, 2021 at 3:06 PM EDT