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Wed Sep 4, 9-10pm, ITV

Series four, episode one
To accuse ‘Whitechapel’ of being contrived and nonsensical is to identify two major reasons for its surprisingly long-lived appeal. But this fourth series might just prove to be the tipping point.

The core trio of straight-arrow copper Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones), gnarled veteran Miles (Phil Davis) and crime writer Buchan (Steve Pemberton) have become supporting players to an endless parade of hackneyed editing techniques and tiresome shock tactics that are now more irritating than funny. Too bad, as the central story, in its blending of ancient and modern, shows real promise: a tramp is horribly murdered in a case bearing the hallmarks both of medieval witchhunters and Cold War spies.

But, for a series which once felt so surefooted, ‘Whitechapel’ is now blundering down a blind alley where, we suspect, ITV bigwigs may be waiting with sharpened knives if ratings decline in line with the quality.