London 1827: River Thames at night – a smuggling operation is underway – suddenly, a river police launch is bearing down on the smugglers and a fight breaks out, followed by a furious chase to the shore.
John Marlott, a senior river police officer and veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, paces the shoreline of the Thames reviewing the aftermath. A sharp police whistle draws his attention towards a small shape lying at the waters edge. As he approaches he sees it is the body of a child, a young girl around 10 years of age. Her body is covered in crude sutures, and is a horrifying sight. He reaches down to touch the dead hand – but in a moment of terror, the hand grabs him back!
The dreadful corpse is brought to the urgent attention of the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, who summons Marlott, and tells him that he wants him to undertake a private investigation. The leading surgeon at St Bart’s hospital in Smithfield, Sir William Chester, tells Marlott that the corpse was made up of seven or eight bodies stitched together.
Marlott is put to work within the offices of the Bow Street Runners, and recruits an optimistic young runner, Nightingale, to assist him. Marlott’s attention is then drawn towards a slum dwelling where criminal Billy Oates masterminds his gang of child criminals. There he discovers a young girl Flora. He also finds a painting on the wall. It is “Little Girl Lost” by the artist William Blake – Marlott resolves to investigate further.
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(551 downloads) Aired November 13, 2015