Red Riding is a trilogy of movies based on a quartet of novels by David Peace. The books (and films) are fictionalized accounts of the investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper, a brutal serial killer that stalked the Yorkshire area of England in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The three films – titled Nineteen Seventy-Four, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty-Three were adapted for the screen by Tony Grisoni (Tideland and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).

Screen Rant was present at the launch of the films in London and interviewed Tony Grisoni along with various other UK bloggers. 

Each film in the Red Riding trilogy has a different director, with the first installment helmed by Julian Jarrold (director of the Anne Hathaway starrer Becoming Jane); James Marsh (the Oscar winning Man On Wire) called the shots on the second and the third film was directed by Anand Tucker (Steve Martin’s Shopgirl).

They will be screened on Channel Four in the UK starting on Thursday 5th March at 9 pm. Cinematic releases are expected for the films around the world (including the US) later in the year.

We were shown extracts from the films and they look fantastic. The films appear to have the same texture of the great 1970’s films such as All The Presidents Men and Serpico, with thick plot and layered performances from the first rate British cast that includes Sean Bean, Paddy Considine and David Morrissey.

While based on actual events, the author of the books says that the stories are “fiction torn out of the facts.”

Here’s information from the trilogy’s official press release:

Andrew Garfield returns to Channel 4 following his Bafta-winning performance in Boy A, joining an ensemble cast of celebrated actors in Red Riding, an ambitious, dark, and thrilling trilogy of interlinking films adapted by Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) from David Peace’s cult noir novels.

The crime trilogy boasts an all-star cast including; Mark Addy (The Full Monty), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings), Jim Carter (Cranford), Warren Clarke (Dalziel & Pascoe), Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes), Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Sean Harris (24 Hour Party People), John Henshaw (Early Doors), Gerard Kearns (Shameless), Eddie Marsan (Vera Drake), David Morrissey (The Deal), Daniel Mays (White Girl), Peter Mullan (Boy A), Maxine Peake (Shameless), Saskia Reeves (The Fixer) and Lesley Sharp (Afterlife).

The three x 120 minute films, airing as part of C4’s winter 2009 schedule, are set in Yorkshire in the 1970s and 80s. Produced by Michael Winterbottom and Andrew Eaton’s production company, Revolution Films, each film in the trilogy will be directed by a separate big name director: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire) and Anand Tucker (And When Did You Last See Your Father?).

1974, Yorkshire – a time of paranoia, mistrust and institutionalised police corruption. Rookie journalist Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) is determined to search for the truth in an increasingly complex maze of lies and deceit that characterises a police investigation into a series of child abductions.

In the second episode, directed by Marsh and set in 1980, The “Ripper” has tyrannised Yorkshire for six long years, and with the local police failing to make any progress, the Home Office sends in Manchester officer Peter Hunter (Considine) to review the investigation. Having previously made enemies in the Yorkshire force while investigating a shooting incident in 1974, Hunter finds himself increasingly isolated when his version of events challenges their official line on the “Ripper”.

In the final instalment, directed by Tucker and set in 1983, another young girl has disappeared and Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson (Morrissey) recognises some alarming similarities to the abductions in 1974, forcing him to come to terms with the fact that he may have helped convict the wrong man. When local solicitor John Piggott (Addy) is persuaded to fight this miscarriage of justice he finds himself slowly uncovering a catalogue of cover ups.

Head of Channel 4 Drama, Liza Marshall said: “I am thrilled to be able to bring a project with such outstanding acting, writing and directing talent to Channel 4. The three films are bold and ambitious and together will form an epic television event.”

Red Riding has resulted from Channel 4’s first look deal with Revolution Films (The Road to Guantanamo). Red Riding is written by Tony Grisoni; produced by Anita Overland and Wendy Brazington; and executive produced by Andrew Eaton.

In the coming days Screen Rant will be featuring a three part interview with the writer of the films, Tony Grisoni, where he discusses the Red Riding Trilogy as well as his career and of course Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Johnny Depp.