THE use of Bradford’s public areas for an upcoming drama based on the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper was banned, it has been revealed.

Emails seen by the Telegraph & Argus, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show producers were keen to shoot The Long Shadow in the city, but Bradford Council’s senior leadership refused to grant permission, fearing the series could “perpetuate the memory” of the evil killer.

The emails, where specific senders, recipients, and other names are largely redacted, lift the lid on the discussions which led to the decision being made.

The ITV drama will tell the story of the horrific murders committed by Peter Sutcliffe and the huge manhunt to find him.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sutcliffe's victims Sutcliffe's victims

The series is set to star big names including Toby Jones, Stephen Tompkinson and David Morrissey, who will reportedly play West Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield.

Katherine Kelly, who will play Emily Jackson, and Daniel May, who will play Emily’s husband, Sydney, have also been spotted filming scenes.

Line of Duty actor Mark Stobbart will play Sutcliffe and he was recently seen shooting a scene in the Roundhay area of Leeds, which involved police officers arriving at the killer’s house. 

Some filming has taken place for the series on private land in Bradford. Bulmer & Lumb, off Halifax Road, has been used for Millgarth Police Station in Leeds. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Filming at Bulmer & Lumb, which is off Halifax RoadFilming at Bulmer & Lumb, which is off Halifax Road

One email from New Pictures, the production company behind the series, says: “We understand the subject remains hugely sensitive, even now, especially for those who remember and endured the fear that Sutcliffe’s crimes rained over Yorkshire.

“That said, the story we are telling is one mostly neglected by previous media releases, which is that of the victims themselves.”

It adds: “The content of the series is neither graphic, gratuitous, nor does it exploit the horrific nature of Sutcliffe’s crimes”.

The email also says the production would be working with those still alive and closest to the crimes, including Richard McCann, the son of Wilma McCann who was the first woman murdered by Sutcliffe.

It proposed several rooms in Bradford City Hall be used and the emails reveal there had been plans to shoot the series in another part of the country “but families and others associated with the victims thought that it needed to be told in West Yorkshire”.

One email, understood to be from Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “I’m not keen on us participating in anything that perpetuates the memory of the man, so the answer’s no from me I’m afraid.”

Following that email, another was sent from New Pictures, which said: “Whilst we fully respect your decision to refuse the City of Bradford MDC’s involvement in such a sensitive project, I wondered if you would allow me the opportunity to give additional context to the series in the hope it will allow further consideration.

“I want to offer reassurance that the intent of our series is not to perpetuate the memory of Peter Sutcliffe, nor exploit or sensationalise the nature of his crimes.

“Our aim is to provide a compassionate and considered insight into the women whose lives were tragically cut short, whilst examining the lasting effects on their families, the communities in which they lived, along with wider society.”

The email adds that should the series be permitted to be filmed in Bradford, the production company would look at working with charities and support groups to strengthen “the positive impact our project has on the area”.

It goes on to say: “The Long Shadow certainly presents a challenging subject matter, but also one of huge social significance when tackled in the right way.

“We fully appreciate the weight of responsibility when approaching a story as sensitive as this, especially when seeking to tell it in areas such as Bradford, which are closest and most affected by the tragic events.

“That said, we are committed to producing a series that is authentic, honest and made with compassion and integrity.

“We truly believe that best way to do this is with the City of Bradford MDC’s involvement and support, and therefore hope you will allow us the opportunity to engage in further discussions with you about the possibility of working alongside us.”

The appeal appears to have gone unanswered for some weeks, with another email pointing out it had been sent to Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchliffe, who had not responded.

The trail also includes an email from the Office of the Chief Executive which states “[redacted name] has come back to me over the weekend and it’s still a no I’m afraid.”

What appears to be the final email, signed ‘Susan’ and in response to the matter being chased by New Pictures, says: “I said no quite clearly I think?’