Peaky Blinders (TV series)
|Created by||Steven Knight|
|Written by||Steven Knight|
|Theme music composer||Nick Cave|
|Opening theme||"Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds|
|Country of origin||England|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||24 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||City of Bradford, Bradford, Keighley, Leeds, Bolton, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Dudley.|
|Running time||55–59 minutes|
|Picture format||16:9 1080i|
|Original release||12 September 2013 –|
Peaky Blinders is an English crime drama television series primarily set in Birmingham, England in the aftermath of World War I. The series, which was created by Steven Knight and produced by Caryn Mandabach Productions, Screen Yorkshire and Tiger Aspect Productions, follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family. Screen Yorkshire provided funding for the production through the Yorkshire Content Fund. It was the first production to receive funding from the Yorkshire Content Fund, which in turn made certain the majority of the show was filmed in Yorkshire as part of the deal.
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby, the gang's leader, with Sam Neill as Chester Campbell, a commissioned detective from Belfast who is tasked with suppressing the gang. The fictional gang is loosely based on the Peaky Blinders, a real 19th century urban youth gang who were active in the city from the 1890s and early twentieth century.
The first series aired on BBC Two on 13 September 2013 and ran for six episodes. The second series premiered on 2 October 2014. The third series premiered on 5 May 2016. On 26 May 2016, the BBC announced they had ordered a fourth and fifth series of the show. The fourth series premiered on 15 November 2017; after the series finale broadcast on 20 December 2017, it was announced that the fifth series will be broadcast in 2019.
In May 2018, after their Drama Series win at the BAFTA TV Awards, Knight confirmed his "ambition of making it a story of a family between two wars, and by ending it with the first air raid siren in Birmingham", which was 25 June 1940. He also confirmed that it would take another three series (seven in total) to complete the story up to that point.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Cast
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Production
- 5 Reception
- 6 Accolades
- 7 Broadcast and release
- 8 Cultural influence
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Peaky Blinders is a gangster family epic set in Birmingham, England in 1919, several months after the end of the First World War in November 1918. The story centres on the Peaky Blinders gang and their ambitious and highly cunning boss Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy). The gang comes to the attention of Chief Inspector Major Chester Campbell (played by Sam Neill), a detective in the Royal Irish Constabulary sent over by Winston Churchill from Belfast, where he had been sent to "clean up" the city of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Communists, gangs and common criminals. Winston Churchill (played by Andy Nyman in Series 1 and Richard McCabe in Series 2) charged him with suppressing disorder and uprising in Birmingham and recovering a stolen cache of arms meant to be shipped to Libya. The first series concludes on 3 December 1919 – "Black Star Day", the event where the Peaky Blinders plan to take over Billy Kimber's betting pitches at the Worcester Races.
The second series sees the Shelby family expand their criminal organisation in the "South and North while maintaining a stronghold in their Birmingham heartland." It begins in 1921 and ends with a climax at Epsom racecourse on 31 May 1922 – Derby Day.
Series three starts and ends in 1924 as it follows Tommy and his family enter an even more dangerous world as they once again expand, this time, internationally. Internet-based film and TV news company Screen Rant said:
|“||The series revolves around the notion of social classes and empires, and how they rise and fall with a startling sort of predictability. As the show suggests, over time, empires become too big, too corrupt, and too complicated to sustain themselves and eventually, they collapse. …[T]he series expresses its fears of expansion by teaching Tommy a powerful lesson about the other sharks skulking around in criminal waters – especially when those criminals are the ones involved in governmental plots with massive geopolitical implications. Essentially, Peaky Blinders embarked on a fish out of water story by moving outside its own comfort zone and taking the risk of expanding too much and too quickly. There are times when that risk appears to have paid off[.]||”|
Series Three also features Paddy Considine as Father John Hughes; Alexander Siddig as Ruben Oliver, a painter whom Polly enlists to paint her portrait; Gaite Jansen as Russian Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna; and Kate Phillips as Linda Shelby, wife of Arthur.
Series Four begins on Christmas Eve 1925 and ends following the general strike of May 1926.
- Cillian Murphy as Thomas 'Tommy' Shelby OBE DCM MM MP: The overall leader of the Peaky Blinders, and brother of Arthur, John, Ada, and Finn Shelby. Tommy served in World War I with the rank of Sergeant Major and was decorated for bravery. His experiences in World War I left him disillusioned and beset with ongoing nightmares.
- Helen McCrory as Polly (Elizabeth) Gray, née Shelby: The aunt of Tommy and his siblings, and treasurer of the Peaky Blinders. She led the organisation when Tommy, Arthur, and John were fighting in World War I. Polly's two children, Anna and Michael, were taken away from her when they were 3 and 6 years old respectively. In series 2, Polly reunites with her son but learns her daughter had died in Australia.
- Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby, Jr.: The oldest Shelby sibling and the bulldog of the family. Arthur owns The Garrison. He also suffers from severe shell shock or PTSD from his experiences in the war, and suffers from violent outbursts, constant mood swings, and attempts at suicide. Arthur is one of the leaders of the Peaky Blinders.
- Sam Neill as Chester Campbell (series 1–2): An Ulster Protestant Irish Major drafted from Belfast to locate and recover a missing consignment of Lewis guns accidentally stolen by the Peaky Blinders. Campbell was illustrious for his work in ridding Belfast of its gang elements. Campbell also had developed a vendetta against the Peaky Blinders, in particular, Tommy Shelby, and vowed to destroy Tommy and the Peaky Blinders.
- Annabelle Wallis as Grace Shelby née Burgess (series 1–3): A former undercover agent and Irish Protestant woman working with Chester Campbell. She was undercover as a barmaid at The Garrison.
- Joe Cole as John Shelby (series 1–4): The third-youngest Shelby. He was a World War I veteran and was one of the Peaky Blinders' leaders. He was killed by members of the Changretta family who sought vengeance when John killed one of their own.
- Sophie Rundle as Ada Thorne, née Shelby: The Shelby brothers' only sister. Ada is the only sibling initially not involved with the Peaky Blinders (by series 3 she takes over a leading position of the Shelby Company branch in the United States, dealing mostly with the legitimate business of the company). She had a son with Freddie Thorne, whom she named Karl (named after Karl Marx).
- Finn Cole as Michael Gray (series 2–present): Polly Gray's biological son.
- Harry Kirton as Finn Shelby (series 2–present); the fifth Shelby sibling.
- Natasha O'Keeffe as Lizzie Shelby née Stark; A former prostitute who works for Tommy as his secretary.
- Ned Dennehy as Charlie Strong: Owner of a boatyard and an uncle figure to Tommy.
- Packy Lee as Johnny Dogs: A gypsy friend of Tommy Shelby.
- Ian Peck as Curly: Assistant to Charlie Strong.
- Benjamin Zephaniah as Jeremiah Jesus: A preacher and friend of the Peaky Blinders.
- Jordan Bolger as Isaiah Jesus (series 2–present): Jeremiah's son and a member of the Peaky Blinders
- Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Esme Shelby, née Lee (series 1–4): John Shelby's wife. Esme married John as part of a deal between the Peaky Blinders and the Lees (a gypsy family) to form a partnership.
- Kate Phillips as Linda Shelby (series 3–present): Wife of Arthur Shelby
- Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons (series 2–4): The leader of a Jewish gang in Camden Town. He is violent and unpredictable, but intelligent. Solomons runs a distillery disguised as a bakery and is involved in derby bookkeeping.
- Adrien Brody as Luca Changretta (series 4): A New York mafioso with a vendetta against the Shelby Family.
- Aidan Gillen as Aberama Gold (series 4–5): A new and dangerous ally of the Shelby Family and lover to Polly Gray.
- Charlotte Riley as May Carleton (series 2, 4): A wealthy widow who owns racehorses.
- Paddy Considine as Father John Hughes (series 3): A priest working with Section D (The Economic League) in the British government.
- Noah Taylor as Derby Sabini (series 2): The leader of an Italian gang in Camden Town.
- Charlie Creed-Miles as Billy Kimber (series 1); a local kingpin who runs the local races.
- Charlie Murphy as Jessie Eden (series 4 -5): An enigmatic union convenor and lover to Tommy Shelby.
- Gaite Jansen as Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna (series 3); Russian princess.
- Iddo Goldberg as Freddie Thorne (series 1): a known communist who fought in the Great War as a sergeant alongside Tommy. Ada Shelby's husband.
- Alexander Siddig as Ruben Oliver (series 3); a portrait artist in a romantic relationship with Polly Gray
- Jack Rowan as Bonnie Gold (series 4–5); Aberama Gold's boxing champion son
- Anya Taylor-Joy as TBA (Series 5)
- Sam Claflin as Oswald Mosley (Series 5)
- Brian Gleeson as TBA (Series 5)
- Tommy Flanagan as Arthur Shelby, Sr. (series 1): the father of Tommy and his siblings and Polly's brother.
- Alfie Evans-Meese as Finn Shelby (series 1): the fifth and youngest Shelby sibling.
- Samuel Edward-Cook as Danny "Whizz-Bang" Owen (series 1): a former comrade of Tommy who fought in the Great War.
- Andy Nyman as Winston Churchill (series 1)
- David Dawson as Roberts (series 1): Billy Kimber's lawyer.
- Tony Pitts as Sergeant/Inspector Moss;:a policeman on the Peaky Blinders' payroll.
- Kevin Metcalfe as Scudboat (series 1)
- Neil Bell as Harry Fenton (series 1)
- Lobo Chan as Mr Zhang (series 1): a Chinese businessman
- Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Malacki Byrne (series 1)
- Keith Dunphy as Maguire (series 1)
- Kunjue Li as Chinn (series 1)
- Richard McCabe as Winston Churchill (series 2)
- Adam El Hagar as Ollie (series 2): Alfie Solomons 's right hand
- Sam Hazeldine as George Sewell (series 2): Derby Sabini's right hand
- Paul Bullion as Billy Kitchen (series 2)
- Rory Keenan as Donal Henry (series 2)
- Simone Kirby as Irene O'Donnell (series 2)
- Wanda Opalinska as Rosemary Johnson (series 2, 4): Michael Gray's foster mother
- Erin Shanagher as Mrs Ross (series 2, 4)
- Daniel Fearn as King Maine (series 2, 4)
- James Richard Marshall as Henry Russell (series 2)
- James Eeles as Digbeth Kid (series 2)
- Josh O'Connor as James (series 2)
- Dorian Lough as Mario (series 2)
- Adam Lawrence as the young lover (series 2)
- Jan Bijvoet as Grand Duke Leon Petrovna (series 3): Grand Duchess Izabella's husband
- Dina Korzun as Grand Duchess Izabella (series 3): Princess Tatiana Petrovna's aunt
- Stephanie Hyam as Charlotte Murray(series 3): Michael Gray's girlfriend
- Kenneth Colley as Vicente Changretta (series 3): Luca Changretta's father
- Bríd Brennan as Audrey Changretta (series 3–4): Luca Changretta's mother
- Frances Tomelty as Bethany Boswell (series 3): a wise old gypsy
- Richard Brake as Anton Kaledin (series 3)
- Alex Macqueen as Patrick Jarvis MP (series 3)
- Wendy Nottingham as Mary (series 3): a housekeeper
- Luca Matteo Zizzari as Matteo (series 4): one of Luca Changretta's henchmen
- Jake J. Meniani as Frederico (series 4): one of Luca Changretta's henchmen
- Dino Kelly as Goliath (series 4): a giant boxer and Alfie Solomons's nephew.
- Kingsley Ben-Adir as Colonel Ben Younger (series 4)
- Graeme Hawley as Niall Devlin (series 4): factory boss.
- Pauline Turner as Frances (series 4); a housekeeper
- Donald Sumpter as Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham; (series 4): King's Private Secretary
- Jolyon Coy as Edward Roberts (series 4)
- Jamie Kenna as Billy Mills (series 4)
- Joseph Long as Chef (series 4)
- Andreas Muñoz as Antonio (series 4)
- Jenson Clarke as Charles Shelby (series 4): son of Tommy Shelby and Grace Burgess
- Ethan Picard-Edwards as Billy Shelby (series 4): son of Arthur Shelby, Jr. and Linda Shelby
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Average UK viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||6||12 September 2013||17 October 2013||2.38|
|2||6||2 October 2014||6 November 2014||2.18|
|3||6||5 May 2016||9 June 2016||2.38|
|4||6||15 November 2017||20 December 2017||4.05|
Series 1 (2013)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||1||Episode 1||Otto Bathurst||Steven Knight||12 September 2013||3.05|
|Following the Great War in 1919, the Peaky Blinders, led by Thomas "Tommy" Shelby, appropriates a consignment of guns from the local arms factory. Winston Churchill sends Inspector Campbell to Birmingham to retrieve the guns. Campbell reviews Tommy's record, which notes that he was a decorated former sergeant major. Aunt Polly urges Tommy to return the guns, but he feels that he can use them to his advantage. His brother Arthur does not agree with Tommy about fixing horse races, believing it will cause trouble with Billy Kimber, who runs the races. Inspector Campbell and his men capture Arthur and beat him while inquiring about the gun robbery. Campbell propositions Arthur and the gang to work with him to find the guns. Tommy's sister Ada is involved with Freddie Thorne, a communist. Barmaid Grace starts working at the bar. Unbeknownst to the Peaky Blinders, she has been placed in Birmingham by Inspector Campbell to help find the guns. Danny has another PTSD episode and kills an Italian business owner. To avoid a war with the Italians, Tommy agrees to kill Danny, with the Italians watching from across the canal. However, Danny's death is faked and he goes to London on a special assignment.|
|2||2||Episode 2||Otto Bathurst||Steven Knight||19 September 2013||2.45|
|Tommy, Arthur and John meet up with the Lees to look at a horse for the next race. The Lees insult the Peaky Blinders, a fight breaks out and later Tommy receives a bullet with his name on it. Campbell's special force launches a surprise crackdown, targeting socialists and looking for the guns. Freddie and Ada manage to escape, but Freddie has to leave town. Campbell confronts Polly and attacks all the Shelby establishments. In retaliation, Tommy arranges for a reporter to write about a protest burning of the King's picture, which prompts Churchill to pressure Campbell. Tommy meets with Campbell, and gives him an ultimatum: if the Peaky Blinders are left alone, he will return the guns; if the Inspector interferes with his plans, Tommy will send the guns to the IRA and ruin Campbell's work in Belfast. Campbell agrees but later instructs Grace to get close to Tommy and find the location of the guns. Polly realizes Ada is pregnant and tells Tommy, who threatens to kill Freddie. However, he later tells Freddie to take Ada away; Freddie instead proposes to Ada and decides to stay in town. Billy Kimber and his men confront the Shelbies, but Tommy convinces them to join forces in fighting the Lees, their common enemy.|
|3||3||Episode 3||Otto Bathurst||Steven Knight||26 September 2013||2.20|
|Ada and Freddie marry, and Aunt Polly gives them money to leave the country. Despite Tommy's best efforts to keep the guns a secret, it seems that people keep finding out about them, including two IRA members. Grace overhears them trying to blackmail Tommy and follows one of them, but he attacks her. Grace manages to fight her attacker off by shooting him dead in self defence. Tommy warns Kimber that Lee's people will once again rob Kimber's bookies at the races. Tommy brings Grace as his date to Cheltenham races in an attempt to distract Kimber as well as convince him that he should hire the Blinders as his security. Kimber agrees if he can have some time alone with Grace, Tommy agrees. At the last minute, he has a change of heart and claims that Grace is actually a prostitute with 'the clap' (gonorrhoea). Freddie decides Tommy is not going to scare him off and returns.|
|4||4||Episode 4||Tom Harper||Steven Knight, Stephen Russell||3 October 2013||2.31|
|Tommy has made the business legitimate by obtaining a betting licence. Although he doesn't quite trust her and is suspicious of her, Tommy hires Grace as his secretary. John calls the family together to tell them he has decided his four children need a mother, and he has decided he wants to marry Lizzie, a local prostitute. Tommy disapproves because he doesn't think Lizzie has given up her former profession. The Lees rob the Shelbys' gambling den as revenge for the Peaky Blinders having protected Billy Kimber's bookies at the races. Tommy decides to call a truce with the Lee family so that he can have an ally against Billy Kimber and marries John to Lees' daughter Esme to consummate the agreement. Ada comes to the wedding but goes into labour soon after. Freddie comes to see the new baby but is arrested when he shows up.|
|5||5||Episode 5||Tom Harper||Steven Knight, Toby Finlay||10 October 2013||2.03|
|Believing Tommy betrayed Freddie, Ada does not want to see or speak to her family. Although Arthur Sr. (Tommy Flanagan) deserted the family a decade ago, he comes back into town. Tommy wants nothing to do with him, but Arthur Jr. believes he has changed and wants to do anything to help him, including financing the opening of hotels in America. However, Arthur Sr. takes off with the money Arthur Jr. gave him. When Arthur Jr. finally tracks his father down, Arthur Sr. admits he never had any plans and felt that the Shelby family owed him. An IRA member starts inquiring about the man Grace killed. Grace and Tommy kill the other IRA members. Now in love with Tommy, Grace tells Inspector Campbell, if she gives him the location of the guns, he has to leave Tommy and his family alone. She suspects the guns are buried in a false grave after discovering that Danny is not really dead, but in London on business for the Shelby family. Grace gives up the location to Inspector Campbell and resigns service to the crown. As she has resigned, and the guns found, with the exception of one, Inspector Campbell proposes marriage, which Grace rejects.|
|6||6||Episode 6||Tom Harper||Steven Knight||17 October 2013||2.24|
|Inspector Campbell knows that Grace has been with Tommy. Nevertheless, he confirms to Winston Churchill that Grace should receive some commendation for her part in finding the missing guns. Polly meets with Grace to reveal she knows Grace's secret and that she will never forgive her. The Peaky Blinders, led by Danny, spring Freddie from jail. Tommy gathers the Peaky Blinders and the Lees to take on Kimber's men at the tracks, but Kimber catches the Shelbies off guard and outnumbered by confronting them at home. Freddie helps the Peaky Blinders by bringing out the machine gun from the stolen weapons, but Ada jumps into the middle of the shoot out trying to bring peace. Kimber fires off at the Peaky Blinders, injuring Tommy and killing Danny. Tommy, in turn, shoots Kimber dead. Tommy meets Grace and she tells him she loves him and will go to London for a few days; she has an idea of how they can be together. Tommy writes a letter and flips a coin to decide if he will go with Grace. As this happens, Campbell confronts Grace at the railway station and points his pistol at her. As the scene fades, there is a gunshot.|
Series 2 (2014)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|7||1||Episode 1||Colm McCarthy||Steven Knight||2 October 2014||2.31|
|Grace shoots Campbell, leaving him lying in his own blood. Two years later, the Garrison is blown up while the family is attending Freddie Thorne's funeral. Tommy tries to get Ada to come back home as he is planning an expansion to London. Tommy goes to the Black Lion to confront those who he thinks blew up the Garrison. Instead, he's taken to meet with the IRA and asked to murder someone – which he does. Tommy is informed that Campbell, now a major, is returning to Birmingham. The Shelby family has a meeting regarding the expansion of the bookie business, but Polly and Esme, John's wife, have reservations. Nonetheless, Tommy, Arthur, and John decide to get familiar with the London scene and cause a rumpus at Darby Sabini's club. Polly visits a medium for information on her children that were taken from her, which Esme discovers before being sworn to secrecy by Polly. Tommy hires Lizzie as his secretary. In retaliation for tearing-up Sabini's club, Sabini has his thugs kidnap and attempt to rape Ada, as well as beat Tommy to within an inch of his life. Major Campbell intervenes before Sabini and his men can finish him off. Campbell has agreed with Winston Churchill, that Tommy will be useful to them.|
|8||2||Episode 2||Colm McCarthy||Steven Knight||9 October 2014||2.18|
|Major Campbell visits Tommy in the hospital and threatens him with the knowledge that he knows about the murder Tommy committed for the IRA, and has clearly had Tommy under surveillance for some time. Tommy discharges himself from hospital early and takes a barge down to London. Tommy meets with vicious gang-leader Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) in Camden Town. Tommy has a hard time convincing Alfie that he should align with the Peaky Blinders against Sabini. Tommy tracks down Ada, and buys her a house as a means of laundering money. He also buys Polly a house. Esme has told Tommy about Polly trying to track down her children. Tommy tells Polly her daughter is dead, but he has managed to track down her son. Unfortunately, due to the law, Polly is unable to track down her son until he is 18 years of age. Arthur's flashbacks from the war are getting worse, and during one, he kills a boy during sparring. He starts using cocaine to self-medicate. Following the reopening of the Garrison, Polly's son, Michael shows up on her doorstep.|
|9||3||Episode 3||Colm McCarthy||Steven Knight||16 October 2014||2.20|
|The Shelby brothers hire the Digbeth Kid, a neighbourhood boy who loves cowboy movies, to get stood up for gambling to help the local cops meet their arrest quota. While in jail, Sabini's thugs murder the Digbeth Kid to get back at the Peaky Blinders for their intrusion on his turf. Polly and Michael try to get to know each other. Tommy and John meet with Billy, of the Black Country Boys, who fought with them in the war. Tommy tells Billy to round up his men for them to go to work in Camden Town for Alfie Solomons. Arthur is threatened by the mother of the boy he killed. Tommy tells Major Campbell that the officers played a joke on him and have boarded him in a house that is owned by a not-so-former Madam. The Shelby boys and Michael go to an auction to purchase a horse and meet horse trainer May Carleton.|
|10||4||Episode 4||Colm McCarthy||Steven Knight||23 October 2014||2.06|
|Tommy meets with his Irish handlers and discovers they are backed by Major Campbell and the Crown. They order another hit, but Tommy turns them down. Arthur and boys attack one of Sabini's clubs. Michael requests that Tommy gives him a job. Tommy hires May Carleton to train his horse. Tommy wants to export whisky to America and Canada – currently under prohibition. Arthur's cocaine habit is starting to get out of control and Tommy tells him to straighten up. Tommy visits Ada and finds out she has a lodger named James (Josh O'Connor). James is an artist, but Ada explains to Tommy, James is not interested in women. Tommy tells Ada he has set up a trust fund for John's children and her son, Karl. Alfie Solomons and Darby Sabini meet and patch up their differences. Michael and his new friend Isaiah, Jeremiah Jesus' son, try to drink in a bar, but get into a fight because they don't want a black man drinking there. Michael and Isaiah return to the Garrison, but when John and Arthur find out that the Shelby name was disrespected, they burn the bar. Tommy calls Grace in London but immediately hangs up without saying anything when a man answers.|
|11||5||Episode 5||Colm McCarthy||Steven Knight||30 October 2014||2.10|
|Alfie Solomons hosts a Passover Seder and invites unaware Arthur and some of his men; who are soon equally slaughtered and has Arthur sent to prison. Major Campbell has Michael arrested as well. Sabini and the now gruesomely scarred Mario take back control of the Eden Club. Tommy finds his fledgeling empire crumbling before him, as his power-base in London is obliterated. Tommy struggles to save his family and regain the upper hand, as the tentative Black Country/Brum alliance is in tatters after the untimely death of Billy Kitchen. Tommy further complicates his love life, by escorting the returning Grace to a passionate date, though still stringing May along, who had earlier expressed her feelings for him. Having slept with Tommy, Grace admits being in London with her husband to procure fertility treatment. Campbell forces Polly to have sex with him, in exchange for Michael's freedom. Tommy attempts to end his romantic relationship with May, though he still wants her to continue training his horse.|
|12||6||Episode 6||Colm McCarthy||Steven Knight||6 November 2014||2.24|
|Tommy decides to settle all his affairs in case he meets an untimely death. He also meets with Alfie Solomons regarding business contracts. Alfie gets Arthur out of prison. Derby Day has arrived. Polly tries to pay off Michael to get him to leave. Tommy collects the Peaky Blinders and gives them their mission at the races. Without firing a shot, they are to collect and burn the licences of Derby Sabini's bookies and steal the bets. Tommy runs into Grace who informs him she's pregnant. Tommy tells her after the race, they will talk. Tommy completes his mission for Major Campbell, but at Lizzie's expense. Major Campbell's men from Northern Ireland, members of the Ulster Volunteers, kidnap Tommy and take him to an empty field while Aunt Polly meets with Major Campbell and shoots him. Tommy is let go with a message from Winston Churchill promising future contact. Michael decides he wants in on the family business.|
Series 3 (2016)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|13||1||Episode 1||Tim Mielants||Steven Knight||5 May 2016||2.95|
|Two years later, in 1924, Tommy Shelby and Grace Burgess get married. The Shelby family and their kin have been invited, as well as Grace's family. Composed of cavalrymen, Irish members of the British Army, Grace's family dismays the Shelby family, due to the cavalry's late arrival on the battlefield during the war. The Peaky Blinders have a meeting in the kitchen, where Tommy, in a state of stress, orders the men to be on their best behaviour. Meanwhile, a refugee from Russia, named Anton Kaledin, makes contact with the Peaky Blinders, offering the code "Constantine" as confirmation for the money-exchange meeting with the young Duchess Tatiana Petrovna (Gaite Jansen). Tommy informs her that Kaledin provided the wrong code name, meaning the man must be killed. Arthur confides in Tommy, not wanting to do the job they must carry out, but Tommy tells him they have no choice, or else Tommy will hang. In the end, Arthur kills the impostor.|
|14||2||Episode 2||Tim Mielants||Steven Knight||12 May 2016||2.43|
|Tommy inspects armoured vehicles for a business deal with Father Hughes. He meets with Mr. Romanov, who pays him for murdering Kaledin with a sapphire. Vicente Changretta meets with Arthur and John to demand an explanation for his son Angel's restaurant burning down. John threatens Vicente and later beats Angel when Vicente publicly vows to murder him. During a Shelby family meeting, Tommy sides with John. Later, he is taken by Scotland Yard to a prison cell, where he is greeted by Father Hughes. Hughes threatens to kill Charlie if Tommy visits Ada again, due to her communist connections and remarks that he has easy access to Tommy's family. Tommy later finds a card under his son's pillow, which reads "Charles Shelby - R.I.P.". Grace wears the sapphire, which Tommy gave her, to the Shelby Charity Foundation dinner. Father Hughes and Patrick Jarvis inform Tommy that the Russians want to inspect the vehicles. Tatiana tells Tommy that the sapphire Grace is wearing was cursed by a gypsy. Tommy attempts convincing Grace to take off the necklace when a man shouts "For Angel!" and shoots Grace in the upper chest. Arthur, John and Finn beat the man to death as Tommy shouts for an ambulance.|
|15||3||Episode 3||Tim Mielants||Steven Knight||19 May 2016||2.20|
|Following Grace's funeral, Tommy meets with Polly and Michael to give them a list of things to do for their "legitimate" business. Afterwards, he orders Arthur and John to retrieve Vicente Changretta alive and shoot Changretta's wife, but they are reluctant to murder her. During a family meeting, the Shelbys realise that Tommy has left, leaving a note that he will be gone a few days. Tommy travels to Wales with the sapphire necklace, where he confers with a gypsy, whom he asks whether it is cursed. He returns home with some sense of normality having left the necklace with the woman. Arthur and John have procured Changretta, who Tommy threatens to torture, but Arthur shoots him in the head as an act of mercy. Following her help in finding the Soviet informant in the Economic League, Tommy invites Ada to head the family's future office in America. He then interrupts a meal hosted by the Grand Duchess Izabella Petrovna to secretly alert her of the information he has acquired. Tatiana sees Tommy to his car; he tells her that Hughes is betraying them to the Soviets and offers to kill him for free.|
|16||4||Episode 4||Tim Mielants||Steven Knight||26 May 2016||2.19|
|Easter 1924. The Shelbys receive news that their father has died and Tommy announces the plan to his brothers: they will have been hired to provide the Russians with weapons for a rebellion stolen from a train and will, in turn, be paid in jewels but, believing they will betray him, Tommy plans to break into their vault. Linda tells Arthur she is pregnant and wants him out of the family business, which he agrees to do after the job with the Russians is over. His vagueness irritates Linda who demands a bigger cut for Arthur so they can move to America together and convinces Polly, Esme and Lizzie agree to strike, forcing Tommy to reveal the plan of the assassination to Polly. After drinking during a portrait painting session with Oliver, she goes to the Church, inadvertently revealing the plan to the priest during confession, who tells Father Hughes about it. Knowing he is the target, Hughes foils the Peaky Blinders' attempt on his life. Hughes then has Tommy seriously injured and humiliates him by threatening Charlie and making Tommy apologise for wrongly accusing him in front of Tatiana and her family.|
|17||5||Episode 5||Tim Mielants||Steven Knight||2 June 2016||2.24|
|Three months later, Tommy has recovered and the planned massive heist involving the Russians is drawing near. Tommy enlists the Peaky Blinders' old antagonist Alfie Solomons to appraise the Russian's jewels, ruining their plan to give Tommy fakes. The Peaky Blinders begin to tunnel underneath their mansion. Tommy makes a deal with the Soviets to ensure the guns on the train will be useless, negating the need to blow up the train and sabotaging the plan to plant evidence at the scene of the explosion incriminating the USSR thus causing an international incident which would lead to Britain cutting off diplomatic relations with Russia. Ada officially joins the Shelby company when she is offered a place in their new Boston office. After previously revealing that he was abused by Hughes, Michael reveals that he too, wishes to kill the priest but Polly tells Tommy that she will bring the business to its knees should her son be the murderer. Polly finally views her portrait, after which Ruben and her take their relationship to the next level.|
|18||6||Episode 6||Tim Mielants||Steven Knight||9 June 2016||2.27|
|Tommy's son, Charlie, is kidnapped. Father Hughes reveals to Tommy that he knows about his subterfuge, including the tunnel into the Russian vault and sabotaging the train bombing plot. He demands the jewels as payment and for Tommy himself blow up the train – which must kill six people, in exchange for the safe return of his son. Tommy agrees unconditionally. Tommy's paranoia after his son is taken causes Polly to turn on Ruben and destroy the painting, but they quickly reconcile. After some investigation he discovers that Alfie Solomons divulged the plans to Father Hughes. During a confrontation, Michael kills Alfie's associate, but Michael talks Tommy out of killing Alfie. Tommy figures out where Charlie is being held and sends Michael to retrieve him and kill Father Hughes. At the same time Arthur and John set off to carry out the train bombing in case Michael can't rescue Charlie in time. Even though Michael is successful, word doesn't reach the Shelbys in time, and the train is blown up. Meanwhile, Tommy frantically completes the tunnel and blasts into the Russian's vault, stealing several jewels and a valuable Fabergé egg. With his son safe, he meets with Grand Duchess Tatiana, who has been in on the jewel heist the whole time, and plans on taking her share to Vienna. Tommy returns home to distribute the remaining loot to his accomplices, but at the end of the meeting announces the police are at the residence to arrest everyone. The rest of the Peaky Blinders and Shelby family are taken away in handcuffs.|
Series 4 (2017)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|19||1||"The Noose"||David Caffrey||Steven Knight||15 November 2017||4.12|
|As Arthur, John, Michael and Polly prepare to hang for their crimes, Tommy's reprieve comes just in time to save their lives. Following their release, the Shelby family is scattered and estranged from one another. On Christmas of 1925, Ada returns from Boston and visits each of them: John and Esme continue their relationship of sex and arguments, Arthur remains stifled by Linda's watchful eye, Michael has begun using cocaine to stay on top of the business, and Polly has fallen into an alcohol-fuelled mania, taking prescribed tablets to quell her visions of spirits. Tommy meets with Michael and advises him to dispose of Polly's medication and help her through her mental illness without them. Each of the Shelbys receives a letter from Luca Changretta, a member of the Sicilian mafia, marking him or her for death in retribution for the murder of Angel and Vincente. Tommy and Ada attempt to convince the others to meet on Boxing Day, believing that they will be easier to pick off if they remain separated. However, when Tommy discovers and kills a mafia agent among his staff, he realises the assassination attempts are due to take place on Christmas Day and tries to get word to the rest of the family. After taking Polly and Ada to the meeting, Michael goes to collect John and Esme, with whom Tommy could not get in contact. A cart pulls up, and John and Michael are riddled by a hail of bullets.|
|20||2||"Heathens"||David Caffrey||Steven Knight||22 November 2017||3.86|
|Michael survives his injuries but John is killed. In the wake of his death, Tommy and the rest of the Shelby family agree to put their differences aside while they deal with the mafia threat. Tommy suggests contacting Aberama Gold, a killer-for-hire, something Polly is strongly against. Disobeying her orders, Tommy uses John's funeral to draw Gold out so that they can make a tentative deal. Enraged, Polly attempts to get Michael to flee with her to Australia but he refuses until she helps the family through their current predicament, something she reluctantly agrees to do. Linda discovers that Ada is under investigation by the government because of her marriage to a communist but doesn't pass the message on. Gold agrees to fight for the Shelbys if they take on his son, Bonnie. After seeing him knock out a man much larger than he, Tommy and Arthur induct him into the Peaky Blinders. Jessie rallies Tommy's workforce and convinces the entire factory to strike. Changretta visits Tommy and sets several bullets on the table, stating that each is for a member of the Shelby family. He plans to keep Tommy alive until the rest are dead but insists that their vendetta be an honourable one, with Tommy agreeing not to involve the police or the death of children or civilians.|
|21||3||"Blackbird"||David Caffrey||Steven Knight||29 November 2017||3.96|
|The Italians launch another attack on the Peaky Blinders. Tommy realises that the Shelbys need to evolve if they are to survive, but some of the family are reluctant to part with tradition. As the strike takes hold at the Lanchester factory, Tommy pays a personal visit to Jessie Eden, but he is outmanoeuvred when she reveals something she knows about his past. Changretta plots to continue the vendetta in the most devastating way possible. As well as identifying an enemy of the Shelby family who could help him, Luca makes direct contact with someone at the heart of the Peaky Blinders organisation.|
|22||4||"Dangerous"||David Caffrey||Steven Knight||6 December 2017||3.87|
|The Peaky Blinders are lured by the Italians into a cat-and-mouse chase on the streets of Birmingham, where it becomes clear that Tommy has met his match. Trapped in Small Heath, Tommy tries to console himself with a visit from an old flame but it soon becomes clear that he can't always get what he wants. As his factory lies idle, Tommy confronts the possibility that the Communists might win and he will be deemed a traitor to his class. Meanwhile, Changretta prepares to spring another trap.|
|23||5||"The Duel"||David Caffrey||Steven Knight||13 December 2017||4.06|
|Thomas Shelby has figured out Polly and Michael have betrayed him but goes to the meeting Polly has set for him and finds himself engaged in bloody battle with Luca Changretta and his gang. Thomas has prepared for the battle ahead of time and manages to single-handedly kill three of Luca's gang members before coming face to face with Luca, however, the police arrive and break up the fight. The family gather to find out what happened, Tommy explains what happened, it appears he had been in on it with Polly, he does not tell the family of Michael's betrayal. Lizzie Stark has even greater news to break. Polly Shelby shares a rather magical woodland scene with Aberama Gold. Meanwhile, an army colonel has questions for Ada Shelby about her past as a communist, and Jessie Eden confirms just how far she is prepared to go in pursuit of her cause. And sensing an opportunity to capitalise on his situation, Luca Changretta makes his way to London to present a plan to Alfie Solomons.|
|24||6||"The Company"||David Caffrey||Steven Knight||20 December 2017||4.44|
|As the stage is set for the boxing match between Bonnie Gold and Goliath, Tommy gets a visit from Alfie. The Shelby girls meet to discuss Lizzie's pregnancy. Tommy watches the match ringside with Arthur who is worried about Goliath's seconds. When one of the men leaves the arena, Arthur follows in pursuit and is mortally wounded. At Arthur's funeral, the widow Changretta approaches with a white flag. Later at the family home, she reveals the vendetta will be over if Tommy signs over all his assets to Luca Changretta. Luca and his men meet with the remaining Shelbys in Tommy's basement distillery to sign the documents. Tommy reveals to Luca that he has sent Michael to America to let the mafiosos know that Luca died in the vendetta. Realizing he has been outmaneuvered, Luca attacks Tommy, and a fight ensues. As Tommy is getting the upper hand, Arthur enters the distillery and shoots Luca. It is revealed that Tommy had Arthur fake his death to lure Luca into the trap. The Shelby's celebrate the end of the vendetta at Tommy's countryside estate, and it is announced that Tommy will be retiring from the business. Tommy confronts Alfie for his betrayal, who reveals he did so knowing Tommy would track him down and kill him, and that he has cancer. Tommy then kills Alfie and proceeds to take his holiday. However, as the boredom from fishing and golf sets in, Tommy's post-traumatic stress comes back, and he returns to Small Heath. Tommy returns to Shelby Company, Ltd., and contacts Jessie to let her know he wants to help her and thus acquires the name of her Communist party contacts. He takes this information to the Crown to secure an endorsement for his campaign for Member of Parliament, an election which Tommy wins.|
The series was filmed in Birmingham, Bradford, Dudley, Leeds, Liverpool and Port Sunlight. Railway sequences were filmed between Keighley and Damems, using carriages from the Ingrow Museum of Rail Travel (owned by Vintage Carriages Trust) and carriages owned by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Trust. Many of the scenes for the show were shot at the Black Country Living Museum.
Sam Neill enlisted the help of Northern Irish actors James Nesbitt and Liam Neeson to help him perfect a Northern Irish accent for the role of C.I. Campbell. In the end, he had to tone down the accent since the series is being marketed in the United States.
A second series was commissioned shortly after the broadcast of the first and aired in the autumn of 2014. On 11 January 2014, auditions were held in Digbeth area of Birmingham (near where parts of the series are set) for white and mixed race teenage male extras, resulting in lengthy queues.
Shortly after the final episode of the second series, the show announced via its official Twitter account that it had been renewed for a third series. On 5 October 2015, the official Peaky Blinders Twitter account announced that filming had begun for series 3. Filming wrapped on 22 January 2016, after 78 days of shooting.
Series 4 and 5
During the initial broadcast of series 3, the BBC renewed Peaky Blinders for series 4 and 5. Both 4 and 5 contain six episodes each. Filming for series 4 started in March 2017 and premiered on 15 November 2017 on BBC Two. Creator and writer Steven Knight authored series 4 and will return to write every episode of series 5. Cillian Murphy has also confirmed his return for both series; the rest of the main cast are expected to return as well, and it was announced that Charlotte Riley is returning as May Carleton. Adrien Brody and Aidan Gillen have been cast as new characters. On 13 October 2017, it was confirmed that the show will not include The Weinstein Company or its logo in its credits from the fourth series onward, even though the company was formerly involved in the US distribution of the series.
Peaky Blinders has been met with critical acclaim, with notable praise directed towards its writing, acting, visual style, and stylish cinematography. David Renshaw of The Guardian summarised the series as a "riveting, fast-paced tale of post-first world war Birmingham gangsters", praising Murphy as the "ever-so-cool Tommy Shelby" and the rest of the cast for their "powerful performances." Sarah Compton of The Telegraph gave the series a 4/5 rating, praising the show for its originality and "taking all of our expectations and confounding them." Alex Fletcher from Digital Spy believes that "Peaky Blinders has started as sharp as a dart," while Den of Geek called the series "the most intelligent, stylish and engrossing BBC drama in ages." Cult TV Times critic Hugh David said the show "warrants the billing" by "managing to tick several ratings boxes – period drama, gangster epic, film star leads – yet go against the grain of those in the most interesting of ways."
The show has been particularly celebrated for its stylish cinematography and charismatic performances, as well as for casting an eye over a part of England and English history rarely explored on television. Historians have been divided over whether bringing characters and events from other decades into a 1920s story undermines claims to historical accuracy, or whether working-class life in the period is nevertheless depicted in a truthful and resonant way. Reviews for the second series have remained positive, with Ellen E. Jones of The Independent commenting that "Peaky Blinders can now boast several more big-name actors to supplement the sterling work of Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and Sam Neill", referring to second series additions Tom Hardy and Noah Taylor.
Several critics have also favourably compared the show to the American series Boardwalk Empire, which shares the same themes and historical context. Show writer Steven Knight stated in an early interview: "Do you know – and I'm not just saying this – but I've never watched them. I've never seen The Wire, I've never seen Boardwalk Empire, I've never seen any of them." When asked if he deliberately avoided watching these dramas, he responded: "It's sort of deliberate in that I don't really want to be looking at other people's work because it does affect what you do inevitably." On 2 March 2016, Knight told the Crime Scene Quarterly "I've had unsolicited communication from Michael Mann, the film director, from Dennis Lehane, Snoop Dogg – he's such a fan. And the late David Bowie was a huge fan – more of that to come" (strongly hinting Bowie's involvement on Series 3). It was later confirmed that David Bowie's music would be featured, and Leonard Cohen had also written a new song for series 3.
|1||BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Best Director: Fiction||Otto Bathurst||Won|
|Best Original Television Music||Martin Phipps||Nominated|
|Best Photography and Lighting: Fiction||George Steel||Won|
|Best Production Design||Grant Montgomery||Nominated|
|Best Sound: Fiction||Stuart Hilliker, Brian Milliken, Matthew Skelding, Lee Walpole||Nominated|
|Best Special Visual Effects||Bluebolt (VFX), Rushes (Colourist)||Nominated|
|Biarritz International Festival of Audovisual Programming||Best Actor in a TV Series or Serial||Cillian Murphy||Won|
|Best Actress in a TV Series or Serial||Helen McCrory||Won|
|Best Music in a TV Series or Serial||Martin Phipps||Won|
|Crime Thriller Awards UK||Best Supporting Actress||Helen McCrory||Nominated|
|RTS Programme Awards||Best Drama Series||"production team"||Won|
|RTS Craft & Design Awards||Best Costume Design: Drama||Stephanie Collie||Won|
|Best Make-Up Design: Drama||Loz Schiavo||Nominated|
|Best Production Design: Drama||Grant Montgomery||Nominated|
|Judges' Award||"production team"||Won|
|Televisual Bulldog Awards||Best Drama One-Off or Serial||"production team"||2nd Place|
|2||BAFTA Television Awards||Best Drama Series||"production team"||Nominated|
|BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Best Make-Up and Hair||Loz Schiavo||Nominated|
|Best Photography and Lighting: Fiction||Simon Dennis||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Grant Montgomery||Nominated|
|IFTA Film and Television Awards||Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series||Cillian Murphy||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Lorna Marie Mugan||Won|
|Best Director: Drama Series||Colm McCarthy||Nominated|
|RTS Programme Awards||Best Drama Series||"production team"||Nominated|
|RTS Craft & Design Awards||Best Photography: Drama||Simon Dennis||Nominated|
|Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards||Best TV Drama – Long Form||Steven Knight||Nominated|
|3||National Television Awards||Best Period Drama Series||"Production team"||Nominated|
|Best Drama Performance||Cillian Murphy||Nominated|
|Irish Film and Television Awards||Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series||Cillian Murphy||Won|
|4||BAFTA Television Awards||Best Drama Series||production team||Won|
|BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Best Costume Design||Alison McCosh||Nominated|
|Best Editing: Fiction||Dan Roberts (Episode 5)||Nominated|
|Best Make Up & Hair Design||Loz Schiavo||Nominated|
|Best Sound: Fiction||Forbes Noonan, Ben Norrington, Jim Goddard, Grant Bridgeman||Nominated|
|Best Writer: Drama||Stephen Knight||Nominated|
|TV Choice Awards||Best Drama Series||production team||Won|
|Best Actor||Cillian Murphy||Won|
|Best Actress||Helen McCrory||Nominated|
Broadcast and release
On 24 September 2014, it was announced that Netflix had acquired exclusive US distribution rights from the Weinstein Company and Endemol. The entirety of series 1 became available for streaming on 30 September 2014; series 2 launched in November 2014. Series 3 was made available 31 May 2016. Due to licensing restrictions, however, most of the show's original soundtrack is not available on the Netflix-distributed version of the series. In 2018, it was announced Peaky Blinders would be moved from its original broadcast channel, BBC Two, to BBC One.
In late 2017, as a result of the show's popularity, Sadler's Brewing Co. of Stourbridge in the Black Country released a "Peaky Blinder" range of products, including pale ale, moonshine, whiskey, spiced gin and spiced rum, as well as merchandising including the characteristic flat caps. The beverage range is stocked by Selfridges in Birmingham.
In January 2019, Peaky Blinders collaborated with menswear brand Kent & Curwen, part-owned by David Beckham, to reveal their latest collection. David Beckham who has also been the ambassadorial president of the British Fashion Council mentioned being "a big fan of the show and our brand has always been about the look. It keeps that authenticity.”
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