The fact that I watched the entire first season in one weekend will tell you all you need to know about BBC2 series Peaky Blinders (or maybe about my social life). With only six episodes in the season, you will not be left feeling shortchanged, as they are an hour long and certainly pack plenty of drama in to the sixty minute slot. While it aired originally over a year ago, premiering in September 2013, you can now catch up with season one and two on Netflix.
Set in the mean streets of Birmingham city in 1919, Peaky Blinders deals with the aftermath of World War One both for the soldiers who survived but will never be the same and for the women who were left to pick up the pieces. The series follows the Peaky Blinders gang on their escapades around Birmingham, as they establish their bookkeeping business and deal with family trials and tribulations.
Despite the ridiculous name of the criminal gang there is real historical precedent. A British gang in an earlier period bore the name ‘Peaky Blinders’ due to the razor blades stitched into the front of their caps, ready to blind an enemy. In the show, Tommy Shelby is the head of the gang, with his brothers at his side, causing mayhem wherever they go. Tommy, played by Cillian Murphy, is a force to be reckoned with and his steely looks could frighten the most powerful foe.
The star-studded cast helps make this TV series come alive, along with the first class production values and great script. Actors like Sam Neill, who plays the loathsome Northern Ireland Police Officer Chief Inspector Campbell. and Helen McCrory, who plays the Shelby brother’s Aunt Polly, are along with Murphy the stars of the show and take the drama to another level.
The main storyline through season one pertains to some misplaced weapons that have got into the hands of the Peaky Blinders. With the British police force quickly on their tale to avoid the guns being sold on to the IRA, CI Campbell comes on the scene, travelling from Belfast to take back the weapons. The series sees a game of cat and mouse between bad boy Tommy Shelby and obsessive Campbell. With love interests, enemies, family issues, post-traumatic stress disorder and everything in-between, Peaky Blinders is a strong, well developed and entertaining series.
This series is not for the faint-hearted with plenty of violence and sex so be warned! There is a definite resemblance to HBO’s prohibition-era American series, Boardwalk Empire, in both style and script. Peaky Blinders looks promising so far with strong acting and incredible detail to set and wardrobe. If anything will put you off it will be the accents: it sounds like every actor has taken a different route with the Brummie twang. But don’t let that put you off: by the end of episode two you won’t even be distracted by it.