Peaky Blinders – Episode 1

Thursday 12 September | 9.00-10.00pm | BBC TWO

Peaky-Blinders

Birmingham, 1919. Thomas Shelby is a war veteran, and head of feared gang, the Peaky Blinders. Named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps, they make money from illegal betting, protection and the black market.

When he comes into possession of a crate of guns from the local arms factory, Thomas sees an opportunity to increase the gang’s power and move up in the world. Meanwhile, tough Belfast copper Chief Inspector Campbell arrives in town, tasked with the recovery of the guns by none other than Winston Churchill. Will Thomas listen to the Peaky Blinders’ family matriarch, Aunt Polly, who instructs him to ditch the weapons rather than take on the police?

At the same time Continue reading ‘Peaky Blinders – Episode 1’ »

BBC Two Presents Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders 1


Peaky Blinders is an epic, six-part gangster drama set in the lawless streets of post-war Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s.

Britain in 1919 is a tumultuous mix of despair and hedonism, a nation cleaned out by the extravagances of the Great War. Returning soldiers, newly minted revolutionaries and criminal gangs all fight for survival in an industrial landscape gripped by economic upheaval.

Thomas Shelby and his family run the most feared and powerful local gang, the Peaky Blinders. Named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps, they make money from illegal betting, protection and the black market.

But Tommy’s Continue reading ‘BBC Two Presents Peaky Blinders’ »

Cillian Murphy is Tommy Shelby

Cillian MurphyWhat drew you to Peaky Blinders?

Well, I always try and follow the writing and I’ve been a fan of Steven Knight’s work for quite a while and the quality just jumped off the page. It’s just very unusual and very compelling and the character Tom Shelby is kind of an enigma. I haven’t done television in many, many years and there’s kind of a golden age with television now and for actors to get to explore characters over the course of six hours is a real treat, especially when you have writing of that calibre.

Tell us about your character and the world he lives in Continue reading ‘Cillian Murphy is Tommy Shelby’ »

Sam Neill is Chief Inspector Campbell

Sam NeillTell us about your character

I play Chief Inspector Campbell. He’s a tough cop from Northern Ireland. He’s probably fairly psychotic but he’s a righteous man, an upright man whose mission is to clean out the cesspit that is Birmingham in 1919 and by God, he’s going to succeed. Campbell is clearly a man of his time and haunted by several things. There’re other dimensions to Campbell apart from being a maniac: he’s kind of sad character too, he’s got a sad dimension to him. I think he probably served in the Boer War and he learnt some practices that probably shouldn’t have been reimported back to the British Isles.

Tell us what drew you to the character and the project Continue reading ‘Sam Neill is Chief Inspector Campbell’ »

Helen McCrory is Aunt Polly

Helen McCroryDescribe the world of Peaky Blinders

The world is Birmingham, 1919, in the back streets where a gang called the Peaky Blinders are the top dogs. Named after caps they have razor blades in. It’s a world, post First World War. Where men are brutalised. Where women for the first time have had power and are having to hand it back to men. Where the local gypsy community is running the races. Where London talks to Birmingham, talks to Leeds, and these gangs are running a new society that was born from the First World War. Where people questioned everything that came from above. No longer was church or government good. The Ulster police were being shipped into this area because an anarchy was going on in the streets. And we play this anarchy and this street life.

Tell us about your character Continue reading ‘Helen McCrory is Aunt Polly’ »

Paul Anderson is Arthur Shelby

Paul AndersonTell us about your character Arthur Shelby

When you first see him, Arthur is head of the family, he’s in charge of what’s going on, described by Sam Neill as the lead pack dog of the Peaky Blinders. It’s interesting because I had a lot of conversations about this and Arthur’s content with the world as it is and the Peaky Blinders as they are. Basically running pubs, running gambling rackets, but his ambition is where it is. I mean he doesn’t want any more. If he can walk into a club, if his name or the Shelby name is enough of an intimidation and a threat to people, then that’s enough for him. He doesn’t have the ambition that Tommy has.

How does Arthur deal with Tommy’s ambition to be head of the family? Continue reading ‘Paul Anderson is Arthur Shelby’ »

Annabelle Wallis is Grace Burgess

Annabelle WallisWhat drew you to this project?

The whole idea of it being about this crime family and the romantic ideas of crime like in gangster films and Westerns and all that kind of came to play after reading the script and – it intrigued me. Everyone’s so feisty and strong and so different and so complex. I just fell in love with it straight away.

Tell us about your character

I play Grace Burgess. She is the barmaid and love interest. She’s a very Continue reading ‘Annabelle Wallis is Grace Burgess’ »

Sophie Rundle is Ada Shelby

Peaky Blinders Sophie RundleTell us about your character

I play Ada Shelby. She’s the sister of the Peaky Blinder boys and as much as all the boys are these sort of wild, vicious, ruthless characters, she’s a real sort of feral wild child but, because she’s a girl in that time she sort of channels her energy quite differently. Everything that you imagine about the 20s, the flapper girls and the bright young things, Ada kind of embodies a lot of that. She’s part of this new generation with all this energy that’s looking for a change after the First World War. So she’s sort of wild and bright and full of energy.

The women in Peaky Blinders are all very strong

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Steven Knight – writer and creator

Peaky Blinders 3What is Peaky Blinders?

It’s based on real events. My parents, particularly my dad, had these tantalising memories of from when he was nine or 10 years old of these people. They were incredibly well dressed, they were incredibly powerful, they had a lot of money in an area where no one had money and… they were gangsters!

In a way I want Peaky Blinders to be a sort of the view of this world through the eyes of a 10-year-old because the men are smarter and stronger and handsomer and the horses are bigger and everything is big and intimidating as a kid.

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Otto Bathurst – Director

Peaky Blinders 2What drew you to the project?

The first thing that I noticed, and the first thing that everybody notices, is this amazing world that Steve depicted. It felt like a world I’d never seen before, and the level of detail and description in the script was just incredibly alluring.

What was your vision for the show?

I had no interest in making was a historical drama. I had no interest in just sort of rewinding the clock, and telling you what it was like in 1919. I was passionate that this should be lit and shot in exactly the same way as if this story was completely contemporary. Once I took off the shackles of historical accuracy, then you kind of go ‘cool’ now we can have some real fun here we can make a really cool show.

Quite early on in the process, I remember the opening line of Goodfellas which is ‘From as far back as I remember, I always wanted to be a gangster’ and that for me, became this project. It was about creating this world that as a viewer you just want to go there and want to be in this gang.

Tell us about the sets and design Continue reading ‘Otto Bathurst – Director’ »