Whitechapel is now streaming on WGBH Passport, and WGBH Drama Club has been glued to our screens binge-watching the show. With its eerie atmosphere, copy-cat mysteries, and tough-but-bright leading men, we can’t help but adore the series.
No character on the show has grabbed our attention more than DI Joseph "Joe" Chandler. Though raised in privilege, Chandler is more interested in solving the tough cases that come his way than climbing the investigative ranks. As the series progresses, his character grows even more complicated and fascinating.
Today we’re taking a closer look at the actor who portrays DI Chandler — the debonair Rupert Penry-Jones — with ten interesting tidbits:
1. Much like Chandler, Penry-Jones works in the family business. His father, Peter Penry-Jones, was known as Superintendent Carter on Poirot and Peter Muir in Colditz. His mother, Angela Thorne, played Marjory in To the Manor Born and the Queen of England in The BFG (1987). Penry-Jones’ brother, Laurence, was Crum in The Forsyte Saga, Adam Duke in Waking the Dead and Oliver Berg in Doctors.
2. ...But that wasn’t always the plan. Penry-Jones didn’t dream of going into acting, but after being cast as Caliban in the Tempest at age 13, his career was off and running.
3. After his young debut, Penry-Jones joined the UK’s New Youth Theatre, where his cohort included Daniel Craig, Jessica Hynes, and Matthew Warchus, the Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
4. He then enrolled in the Old Vic, but was booted in his second year for being too disruptive. His attitude was rumored to be due to a “broken heart.” Aww.
5. After leaving theater school, Penry-Jones briefly became a lip model for Lypsyl lip balm.
6. Just as his modeling career was taking off, Penry-Jones started dating British superstar Kylie Minogue. Alas, for you Minogue fans out there, the relationship lasted only a short time.
7. ...But that was probably for the best, because Penry-Jones is now happily settled down with fellow performer Dervla Kirwan, who you may know as Assumpta from Ballykissangel. They met while performing together in A Dangerous Corner.
8. As his career has evolved, so too has his roster of characters involved in the law, including Adam Carter on Spooks, Richard Hannay on 39 Steps, Donald Maclean on Cambridge Spies, and Clive Reader on Silk,among others.
9. Penry-Jones has been very vocal about his rocky time on Spooks, saying that he felt the length of the series resulted in him just “churning out” his performance, putting in mediocre work and even acting poorly toward his fellow cast and crew.
10. Mystery fans, rejoice: You can expect Penry-Jones back on the scene in 2020, with the feature film spin-off of the ABC series Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears.