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Peaky Blinders: Sneak peak at new TV show

A scene from Peaky Blinders, described as an epic gangster family saga

A scene from Peaky Blinders, described as an epic gangster family saga

  • by Charles Heslett
 

Filming has started in Leeds on a major new BBC drama.

Peaky Blinders is described as “an epic gangster family saga” set in 1919.

The six-part series features a star-studded cast including film actors Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight Rises), Sam Neil (Jurassic Park) and Helen McCrory (Harry Potter).

Leeds Town Hall, The City Varieties and other city locations will stand in for Birmingham, where the drama is set.

Film agency Screen Yorkshire attracted the producers with investment from its Yorkshire Content Fund which aims to create jobs and investment in the region.

The story begins just after the First World War.

At the top of the industrial jungle that is Birmingham are the Shelby family who make up the city’s fiercest criminal gang of all - the ‘Peaky Blinders’.

Named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps and 
using them to slash enemies across the face, the ‘Blinders’ make their money from off track betting, protection and robbery.

Their boss Tommy Shelby (Murphy) is the most ruthless brother.

His leadership is about to be tested by the Chief Inspector Campbell (Neill) who has just arrived from Belfast.

A mystery woman called Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis) also arrives in the neighbourhood with a dangerous secret. McCrory plays Aunt Polly Gray, the Shelby family’s fearsome matriarch.

It is the first TV drama by Steven Knight who wrote the screenplays for films Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises.

He said: “The story I want to tell is based on family legend and historical fact.

“It is a fiction woven into a factual landscape which is breathtakingly dramatic and cinematic, but which for very English reasons has been 
consigned to historical text books.”

Filming for the BBC2 show will take eight weeks.

 

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