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Amazon brings Ripper Street back from the dead

Amazon will fund a third series of the cancelled BBC drama Ripper Street, and will show it before the BBC too.

Amazon launched its Prime Instant Video service today -- which is basically Lovefilm rebadged -- and to celebrate, it's breathed some new life into an axed BBC show.

Amazon will fund a new series of Ripper Street, and show it exclusively on Prime Instant Video. After two series, the period crime drama was cancelled last year because of low viewing figures. Filming on the new series will start in May. It'll be exclusive to Amazon Prime Instant Video at first, then the BBC will show it at a later date.

This is the first time a video on demand service has funded a drama series after it's been dropped by a terrestrial channel.

According to writer Richard Warlow, the show will get "more bells and whistles" under the new arrangement, because he won't be writing exclusively for a BBC terrestrial audience. We'll have to wait and see what that means.

The first and second series of Ripper Street are available now on Prime Instant Video.

Jason Ropell, Amazon Instant Video's head of international content acquisition, said in a statement that the news would "delight the millions of fans of this brilliant British drama."

Amazon is competing with Netflix and its adaptation of UK drama House of Cards. The Kevin Spacey-starring show has been lauded by critics. Its second series is now available on Netflix.

Amazon Prime Instant Video costs £79 a year. It includes membership to Amazon Prime, which gets you quicker delivery of items you've bought from the retail giant. Also included is access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which lets you borrow a book a month to read on your e-reader, for free.

Are streaming services the way forward for TV? Or will they always be a sideshow to the terrestrial channels? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.