‘One last deal to be done’ in Peaky Blinders

Sunday:Peaky Blinders; (BBC One, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 5:00 pm
Tommy Shelby
Tommy Shelby

It’s the moment fans of the Birmingham-set gangster drama have been both looking forward to and dreading.

Steven Knight’s much-loved show will reach an emotional conclusion tonight after six seasons, but as a pay off, we will get to see if there really is “one last deal to be done” before the Peaky Blinders rest.

Peaky Blinders premiered in September 2013, and after becoming a ratings hit, it has spawned everything from themed pubs and fashion lines to food stalls and festivals.

Celebrity Peaky fans include David Beckham, Brad Pitt, Idris Elba, Tom Cruise and David Bowie, with the late singer once asking Knight to include his music in the show.

However, long before it became a cultural phenomenon, writer and creator Knight was clear in his mind what he was doing with the show.

“What I’ve wanted from the beginning is to start off with a character who seems irredeemable,” he says.

“One who is switched off completely; whose humanity has been torn out of him by his experiences in the war.

“And then slowly bring him back to life, to turn him back into a human being over the however many hours that we’ve done.

“And I think at the end of six, for all the bad things that he’s done, Tommy [Cillian Murphy] is a human being.”

One of the things that makes Knight proud is that Peaky Blinders’ cultural imprint was never ‘forced’ – there was no blanket billboard campaign, no big press push.

“There’s been no hype of it, in fact, the opposite,” he says.

“And I think in the end I’m glad it worked that way, because people feel they’ve discovered it themselves, rather than they’ve been directed towards it.”

Word of mouth led to an audience which led to everything else, and Knight says it started to feel like one big family.

“What’s good about it is it’s parents with their kids. Often parents will say, ‘My kid, my teenage daughter or teenage son never watches telly. But we watch this together.’ That for me is one of the most gratifying things.”

Millions of families around the country will be gripped this evening as the final-ever episode airs on BBC One.

Although specific details are being kept under wraps, we do know that Tommy will have to face the consequences of his experiences and actions over the years.

As the clouds of the coming storm gather, what will be become of the leader of the Shelbys in a world on the inevitable road to war?

Despite Peaky Blinders’ ongoing success, Knight is convinced the time is right for it to end – as a TV show, anyway.

“The way these things are scheduled – it’s like turning an oil tanker around,” he says.

“We just felt, also with the loss of Helen [McCrory], that it all seemed to be pointing towards doing what I’m calling ‘the end of the beginning.’ Let’s end the beginning, then let’s do the film. And then let’s see where we go in terms of spin offs.

And Knight has already teased what the movie’s plot will entail, explaining that “It’s about a sort of untold story that happened in the Second World War, which Peakys are going to be involved in.”

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