I originally attempted to watch Peaky Blinders when I was pregnant and fell asleep because basically that is what you do when you are pregnant cos everything is exhausting. I had kind of forgotten about it until one of my friends from my NCT (antenatal class) group said that she and her husband were hooked. Mr O and I found ourselves looking for a new series over Christmas so we decided to give it a go.
In grimy 1920’s Birmingham the Shelby family, headed by second eldest brother, Tommy (Cillian Murphy) run a low level gang operation. Tommy is flanked by his older brother, Arthur (Paul Anderson), younger brother, John (Joe Cole) and Aunt, Polly (Helen McCrory). Their core business is a bit of illegal gambling and a protection racket. They are called the Peaky Blinders because of the blades they conceal in their flat caps and use to slash the eyes of those who dare to cross them.
Tommy has ambitions beyond the gang’s modest roots and when he accidentally comes into the possession of some machine guns it seems that he’s found a way to take the Blinders to the next level. With the IRA, the communists and a very enthusiastic police Inspector (Sam Neill) from Belfast all wondering what has happened to the guns things will not be simple and that’s if Tommy doesn’t get distracted by a mysterious barmaid (Anabelle Wallis) who is new in town.
It’s been a while since something sucked me in the way Peaky Blinders did but within about ten minutes of the first episode I was absolutely hooked. From the belting Nick Cave theme tune, to Murphy’s brooding war hero/gangster, to the shady dealings, brutal violence, politics romance, family wranglings and more, it is a blast.
While the actual story line is riveting it is the characters that really draw you in. Every character is layered, complex and carefully drawn out. Murphy is undeniably the star of the show, playing a man who is outwardly as hard as nails but also tortured by his experiences in the war. Arthur is just as interesting and watching him wrestle with not being in charge despite being the eldest brother is fascinating. And then you can’t ignore Sam Neill’s Inspector Chester Campbell’s slide into darkness through his desperation to achieve his goals. It’s not just the male characters though, Helen McCrory as the tough but motherly, Polly is perfection and Sophie Rundle, Natasha O’Keeffe and Annabelle Wallis all deserve a mention.
As first seasons go you really can’t go wrong and at six hour long episodes it is ideal weekend binge material. DO IT!