Created by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, Hummingbird), epic gangster drama Peaky Blinders will be aired on BBC Two this autumn. The six-part series stars Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, 28 Days Later) in his first major TV role. Set in the lawless streets of post-war Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s, Peaky Blinders shows a Britain that is a tumultuous mix of despair and hedonism, a nation cleaned out by the extravagances of the Great War.
Cillian Murphy is Thomas Shelby, leader of the most feared and powerful local gang, the Peaky Blinders. Named for their practise of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps, they make money from illegal betting, protection and the black market. But when a crate of guns goes missing from an arms factory, their battle-hardened leader recognises an opportunity to move up in the world.
As rival gangs, Communist revolutionaries and IRA Fenians descend on Small Heath in pursuit of the weapons, Winston Churchill despatches a ruthless police chief from Belfast (Sam Neill) to impose order on an increasingly lawless city and recover the guns.
With Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Charlie Creed-Miles, Iddo Goldberg, Annabelle Wallis, Joe Cole, Sophie Rundle, and acclaimed poet Benjamin Zephaniah completing the stellar cast, Peaky Blinders is set to bring a fresh new cinematic world to the small screen.
Peaky Blinders is a dazzling picture of England taken directly from the pages of our secret history. They will now burst into life in a vibrant evocation of a hedonistic age. The Shelbys will be a family to be reckoned with.
This is the first TV drama by series creator Steven Knight. The episodes screened are directed by Otto Bathurst (Black Mirror, Criminal Justice), with later episodes in the series directed by Tom Harper (Misfits, This is England ’86, The Scouting Book for Boys).
With music from Jack White and Nick Cave, whose “Red Right Hand” provides the title track.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival screening offers a special chance to see the first two episodes on the big screen.