ripper streetAmazon has come to the rescue of British period drama Ripper Street. The online giant is today launching its Amazon Prime Instant Video service in the UK and with that has announced a commission for a 3rd season of the BBC crime series. It’s also acquired UK subscription streaming rights to the previous seasons. The Victorian era show, which stars Matthew Macfadyen, was cancelled by the BBC in December after a 2nd season ratings drop. The news elicited an outpouring of lament from fans and it was soon rumored that Amazon’s streaming service LoveFilm might pick up the slack. Amazon recently said it was folding LoveFilm into its Prime service in Britain with the new-look platform bowing today, along with the news that new episodes of Ripper Street will be made available exclusively to Amazon Prime Instant Video members before screening on BBC One a few months later.

This is the first time a VOD service has ridden to the rescue of a drama series after it was axed by a UK network. The Ripper Street order is part of Amazon’s commitment to invest in original content as well as a move that continues to increase its local rivalry with Netflix. Tiger Aspect and Lookout Point will produce the 3rd season of Ripper Street which will be co-produced in the U.S. by BBC America. Shooting is set to start in May. Ripper Street is set in 1889 London in the aftermath of the Jack The Ripper murders. The action centers on the H Division group of detectives who investigated the murders and tried to keep the peace in a panicked section of east London. Jerome Flynn (Game Of Thrones), Adam Rothenberg (Alcatraz) and MyAnna Buring (Downton Abbey) also star. The show is created by Richard Warlow (Waking The Dead, Mistresses). BBC Worldwide will distribute the new series internationally.