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Peaky Blinders to return with Netflix film - Here's why we're excited

By order of the Peaky Blinders
By order of the Peaky Blinders Copyright BBC
Copyright BBC
By Jonny Walfisz
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As the streaming giant confirms a film is on the way, here's why you should be excited for the return of Cillian Murphy as the leader of the Shelby gang.

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A Peaky Blinders film is on the way, Netflix has confirmed. The streaming giant posted on X last night with official news of the long-awaited conclusion to the popular crime drama. 

The post from Netflix includes a picture of the script and a comment from lead actor Cillian Murphy: “It seems like Tommy Shelby wasn’t finished with me.” 

“It is very gratifying to be recollaborating with Steven Knight and Tom Harper on the film version of Peaky Blinders. This is one for the fans,” Murphy says. 

Peaky Blinders is a hugely popular British drama that ran on the BBC for six series between 2013 and 2022 with a dance show. Set in 1920s Birmingham, it followed a fictionalised version of the real Peaky Blinders gang. 

Despicable, iconic... Tommy Shelby
Despicable, iconic... Tommy ShelbyBBC

The series won acclaim for its period drama setting, outstanding acting from the likes of Murphy and Helen McCrory, sharp dialogue, and iconic contemporary soundtrack. 

While the show officially finished after its sixth series in 2022 on the BBC, series creator Steven Knight has spoken about wanting to make a film to wrap up the loose ends of the show’s grand storyline. 

Now, thanks to Netflix – the streaming giant already had international distribution rights for the show – Peaky Blinders will return to the big screen with Knight’s grand cinematic finale. 

“It will be an explosive chapter in the Peaky Blinders story,” Knight says, noting how the film will leave “no holds barred.” 

Tom Harper who is slated to direct says: “When I first directed Peaky Blinders over 10 years ago we didn't know what the series would become, but we did know that there was something in the alchemy of the cast and the writing that felt explosive.” 

Why should you be excited?

Peaky Blinders trotted onto TV screens as one of those rare brilliantly fully-formed shows. Irish actor Cillian Murphy was fully transformed into the cold-blooded manipulative criminal Tommy Shelby as he strode through the derelict streets of post-World War One Birmingham on his horse to the tune of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’. 

The period was achingly beautifully recreated with an anarchic anachronistic flair. This was depression-era Britain fuelled by Scorsese-esque dialogue, vibrant characters played by acting heavyweights and a killer punk soundtrack. 

Tom Hardy as the formidable Alfie Solomons
Tom Hardy as the formidable Alfie SolomonsBBC

While the show’s first season started with Shelby and his gang of Peaky Blinders thugs as the local gangsters of a downtrodden midlands dump, the show’s ambition grew with its characters. By the end of the sixth season, Shelby is an MP for Birmingham, making illegal deals to sell liquor to prohibition-era America, while trading barbs with the fascist Oswald Mosely. 

The cast had also grown to incorporate a smorgasbord of talent. Alongside Murphy, who collected an Oscar for his titular role in Oppenheimer this year, the show had featured Sam Neill, Tom Hardy, Paddy Considine, Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Stephen Graham among many others. 

However, the show was rocked by the sudden death of regular cast member Helen McCrory in 2021. McCrory starred as the gang’s matriarch Elizabeth ‘Polly’ Gray, and her absence was keenly felt in the final series. 

The late great Helen McCrory
The late great Helen McCroryBBC

Unmoored without McCrory, after some of the most confidently made television in recent years, the show stumbled through the last series, leaving many plot threads still fraying at the edges. 

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Osward Mosely, the real-life British fascist whose actions led to the 1936 Battle of Cable Street and in the show’s universe, had bested Shelby at the end of season five, feels like the biggest omission in the show’s chronology. 

Similarly, plot points involving rival Scottish gang the Billy Boys, Liverpool businessman Hayden Stagg (played painfully briefly by Stephen Graham), and how the Shelby’s fraught liquor trade with the American gangsters, all are yet to be fully played out. 

Will a single film be able to wrap all these threads up in a neat two hours? That’s hard to say. What’s hopefully guaranteed is that with Netflix financially backing the film and Murphy agreeing to return at the peak of his career, the film should have all the requisite funds thrown at it to once again fully realise the bombastic world of Peaky Blinders to the big screen.

If it also means more incredible needle drop moments from the likes of Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, the White Stripes, and Anna Calvi, then count us in… By order of the Peaky Blinders!  

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