Peaky Blinders (TV series)

Peaky Blinders is a British period crime drama television series created by Steven Knight. Set in Birmingham, England, the series follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the direct aftermath of the First World War. The fictional family is loosely based on a real 19th-century urban youth gang of the same name, who were active in the city from the 1890s to the early twentieth century.
Peaky Blinders features an ensemble cast, led by Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Joe Cole and Paul Anderson starring as Tommy Shelby, Elizabeth "Polly" Gray, John Shelby and Arthur Shelby respectively, the gang's senior members. Sam Neill, Tom Hardy, Paddy Considine, Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen, Charlotte Riley, Sam Claflin and Anya Taylor-Joy also have recurring roles at various junctures of the series. The series premiered on 12 September 2013, telecast on BBC Two until the fourth season, and then shifted to BBC One for the fifth season.
In 2018, after the show's 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. After the conclusion of the fourth series, he confirmed that it would take another three series to complete the story up to that point. The fifth series premiered on BBC One on 25 August 2019 and finished on 22 September 2019. Netflix, under the deal with Weinstein Company and Endemol, had acquired the rights to air Peaky Blinders in America & around the world.


Peaky Blinders is a Roma-origin 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. The gang comes to the attention of Major Chester Campbell, a Detective Chief Inspector 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, Communists, gangs and common criminals. Winston Churchill 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.
The third series starts and ends in 1924 as it follows Tommy and his family entering an even more dangerous world as they once again expand, this time internationally. The third series also features Father John Hughes, who is involved in an anti-communist organisation; Ruben Oliver, a painter whom Polly enlists to paint her portrait; Russian Duchess Tatiana Petrovna ; and Linda Shelby, new wife of Arthur.
The fourth series begins on Christmas Eve 1925 and ends following the general strike of May 1926 with Tommy being elected as a Member of Parliament in 1927. The fifth series begins two years later on 29 October 1929 and ends on 7 December 1929, the morning after a rally led by fascist leader Oswald Mosley.




Series 1

Peaky Blinders was created by Steven Knight, directed by Otto Bathurst, and produced by Katie Swinden. The writers are listed as Steven Knight, Stephen Russell and Toby Finlay.
Screen Yorkshire provided funding for the production through the Yorkshire Content Fund, ensuring that the majority of the show was filmed in Yorkshire as part of the deal. 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, 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.
Ulster-born, New Zealand-raised Sam Neill enlisted the help of Northern Irish actors James Nesbitt and Liam Neeson to help him recover his lost 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.
Controversially, the production did not hire linguists to assist in the show, leading to the Gypsies' frequently speaking broken Romanian.

Series 2

A second series was commissioned shortly after the broadcast of the first and aired in October and November 2014. On 11 January 2014, auditions were held in Digbeth area of Birmingham for white and mixed race teenage male extras, resulting in lengthy queues.

Series 3

Shortly after the final episode of the second series, the show announced via its 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, each of which comprises six episodes. Filming for series 4 started in March 2017 and premiered on 15 November 2017 on BBC Two. The fourth series did not include The Weinstein Company or its logo in its credits and will continue to no longer be included, even though the company was formerly involved in the US distribution of the series.
On 22 August 2018, the BBC confirmed that series 5 would be broadcast on BBC One. Having already premiered to a select audience at Birmingham Town Hall on 18 July 2019, the series began airing on BBC One on 25 August 2019.


On 5 May 2018, Steven Knight told Birmingham Press Club that "we are definitely doing six and we will probably do seven". Knight has indicated that once the series is complete, a film or spin-off could follow.


Peaky Blinders has received praise for its writing, acting, visuals, 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 Daily 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 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". It was later confirmed that David Bowie's music would be featured, and Leonard Cohen had also written a new song for series 3.


1BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Director: FictionOtto Bathurst
1BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Original Television MusicMartin Phipps
1BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Photography and Lighting: FictionGeorge Steel
1BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Production DesignGrant Montgomery
1BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Sound: FictionStuart Hilliker, Brian Milliken, Matthew Skelding, Lee Walpole
1BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Special Visual EffectsBluebolt, Rushes
1Biarritz International Festival of Audovisual ProgrammingBest Actor in a TV Series or SerialCillian Murphy
1Biarritz International Festival of Audovisual ProgrammingBest Actress in a TV Series or SerialHelen McCrory
1Biarritz International Festival of Audovisual ProgrammingBest Music in a TV Series or SerialMartin Phipps
1Crime Thriller Awards UKBest Supporting ActressHelen McCrory
1RTS Programme AwardsBest Drama Series"production team"
1RTS Craft & Design AwardsBest Costume Design: DramaStephanie Collie
1RTS Craft & Design AwardsBest Make-Up Design: DramaLoz Schiavo
1RTS Craft & Design AwardsBest Production Design: DramaGrant Montgomery
1RTS Craft & Design AwardsJudges' Award"production team"
1Televisual Bulldog AwardsBest Drama One-Off or Serial"production team"
2BAFTA Television AwardsBest Drama Series"production team"
2BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Make-Up and HairLoz Schiavo
2BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Photography and Lighting: FictionSimon Dennis
2BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Production DesignGrant Montgomery
2IFTA Film and Television AwardsBest Leading Actor in a Drama SeriesCillian Murphy
2IFTA Film and Television AwardsBest Costume DesignLorna Marie Mugan
2IFTA Film and Television AwardsBest Director: Drama SeriesColm McCarthy
2RTS Programme AwardsBest Drama Series"production team"
2RTS Craft & Design AwardsBest Photography: DramaSimon Dennis
2Writers' Guild of Great Britain AwardsBest TV Drama – Long FormSteven Knight
3National Television AwardsBest Period Drama Series"Production team"
3National Television AwardsBest Drama PerformanceCillian Murphy
3Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Leading Actor in a Drama SeriesCillian Murphy
4BAFTA Television AwardsBest Drama Series"production team"
4BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Costume DesignAlison McCosh
4BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Editing: FictionDan Roberts
4BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Make Up & Hair DesignLoz Schiavo
4BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Sound: FictionForbes Noonan, Ben Norrington, Jim Goddard, Grant Bridgeman
4BAFTA Television Craft AwardsBest Writer: DramaSteven Knight
4TV Choice AwardsBest Drama Series"production team"
4TV Choice AwardsBest ActorCillian Murphy
4TV Choice AwardsBest ActressHelen McCrory
5Cinema Audio Society AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One HourStu Wright, Nigel Heath, Brad Rees, Jimmy Robertson, Oliver Brierley, Ciaran Smith

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.