Monday, November 29

Podium Podcast: ‘Canonicas’, the true story of the forgotten victims of Jack the Ripper | TV

The fascination about his figure and the repercussions of his murders are unparalleled in history. It is the most famous unsolved crime series of all time. Turned into a fabulous business, routes through the London area of ​​Whitechapel, books to fill several libraries, theses, films and series try to exploit the vein and answer the same question. Who was Jack the Ripper? The mystery has secluded Mary Anne in the shadows Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elisabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, the five official victims, murdered in London between August and November 1888, also victims of oblivion and objectification, of the lies told for decades and even becoming official truth , of indifference. Meanwhile, the murderer was gradually transformed into a pop culture icon.

One of the letters attributed to Jack the Ripper and sent to the press in September 1888, as displayed at an exhibition in London in 2008.
One of the letters attributed to Jack the Ripper and sent to the press in September 1888, as displayed at an exhibition in London in 2008.CARL DE SOUZA (AFP via Getty Images)

“This story that you are going to hear is not new, what happens is that it has almost always been told by the end.” so it begins Canonical, the Podium Podcast program —Part of PRISA Audio, the transversal platform of PRISA, publisher of this newspaper— released this week and which aims to turn this situation around and answer another question: Who were these five women really? “His story is not pretty, but it is exciting. They are ordinary women of a certain social class. Through them you can see how working women lived in the Victorian era. So far we have focused on the final part of their lives, we have not asked ourselves what their journey has been, “the journalist Laura Martínez, screenwriter and director of the sound documentary, told EL PAÍS this Thursday. the first two chapters. “Were they just prostitutes? They were not? In a professional way … yes? no? What difference does it make? ”, Asks Martínez (Palma de Mallorca, 29 years old) to sweep in one go, as he will later do with the podcast, the simplification of the biography of these women of whom we know so little. Let’s say, as brushstrokes of existences that go far beyond her tragic death, that four were over 40 years old (Mary Jane Kelly, was 25) and that, although they all met their end in Whitechapel, none were born or lived their entire lives in that neighborhood. Birmingham, Hyde Park, Windsor or Marylebone are some of the stations in their eventful lives.

Several authorized voices guide the listener through the six chapters, one introductory and one about each of the victims, which can be listened to and downloaded weekly. Highlights Hallie Rubenhold, expert historian on prostitution, who already studied the case in the seminal work The five women (Rocaeditorial) and that right now has its own podcast in the air, Bad Women. The Ripper Retold (Pushkin Industries). When Rubenhold plunged into the investigation, he realized that much of what we knew about Jack the Ripper – but also how little we knew about his victims – were rumors, exaggerations, and press fabrications to illuminate shadow areas. To which police work never reached, a hubbub of theories that has only been worsened later by the thousands of amateur detectives who have thrown themselves into the case, always to ignore the murdered women and indulge in fascination with the murderer. So it has always been in the true crime, as Rebecca Frost, an expert on the genre and another of the voices of Canonical. There are hundreds of theories and, if we are cautious, up to 50 suspected of being Jack the Ripper, a figure that is expanded to the immeasurable if we admit the explanations of those who believe it was Prince Albert or the writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Meanwhile, the story about the lives of the victims has been minimal until very recently.

The podcast, developed during the pandemic, has had to be based on videoconference interviews and a great job of sound design by Nacho Cantisano. Martínez talks about these women with the affection of someone who has been immersed in their lives for months. He would have liked to know more about the first, Polly Nichols, about her social collapse, about her leaving home, about her journey to the streets of East London where she found her death. But if he has to choose, he stays with Chaterine Eddows: “What a woman. What a punk. An Amy Winehouse from the 19th century and also with a sad ending ”, she says excitedly. There are no viscera in these six chapters, only at a specific and justified moment. The detailed account of their deaths, so common in all the literature on Jack the Ripper, was at first in the script but Martinez preferred to leave the blood out, forget about their deaths, sing and tell their lives.

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