Rupert Penry-Jones is back as DI Joseph Chandler solving a series of horrific murders on the streets of ITV1’s Whitechapel

The first two series of Whitechapel had specific themes, ie Jack The Ripper and The Krays. So is there a historical connection to the new series?

“Well, we’re no longer facing copycat crimes, but we’re using history as a map to guide us through difficult investigations. Chandler has taken on Ripperologist Ed Buchan (Steve Pemberton) as a researcher and given him access to over 200 years’ worth of Met Police archives. So if we get really stuck, Ed can dig through the files to find something that may help our investigation.”

Why does Chandler still need Buchan?

“He’s been a great help in the past and Chandler likes him. They’re quite similar – they’re both obsessive – and Buchan is a bit of a crutch for him. He’s also so keen to help, he doesn’t even want to be paid!”

Can you tell us about the first two-part story starting this week?

“There are a series of multiple murders in houses where all the inhabitants, apart from one, have been bludgeoned with a hammer. The first massacre takes place in a local tailor’s shop and there’s no sign of a break-in and no forensic evidence to go on.”

Is this series going to be as gruesome as the first one?

“It’s not as gory as the first one, but it is darker. I think with the second series, they backed off a bit so as not to put people off. But they’ve gone back to it. You couldn’t get much darker than this series.”

Is Chandler still battling his own Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

“He is and for me, it’s a really useful prop. It’s good to have something to give your character that extra edge. I get much more involved in the way I look, the way I dress and the layout of my desk. I’m a bit of a pain in the a*** for the art department as I keep saying, ‘You’ll have to dust that’ or ‘straighten that.'”

Are you becoming a bit OCD yourself, then?

“My wife (Dervla Kirwan) would say I am a little OCD, but I don’t think I am! Everything has a place in my house and if it’s not put back in the right place, I’m not happy. But I think that’s just sensible. She’s more chaotic. If she had her way, there would be deodorant next to jam – everything in the same cupboard!”

We hear there’s a possibility of romance for Chandler?

“Well, his colleague Miles (Phil Davis) is aware that Chandler’s a bit lonely and they have a heart to heart. Miles pushes him to go on a date so yes, there is a possibility of romance. But I don’t think he could ever end up with anyone. For him to find somebody he can live with is going to be a big ask!”

Whitechapel is on ITV1 (not STV) on Mondays at 9pm