There’s always scepticism when a series makes the move across the deceptively deep waters between BBC2 and BBC1. This isn’t family-friendly fare such as The Great British Bake Off though so if there’s compromise it will lose its whole raison d’etre. That and Tommy would just shoot the judges and declare himself star baker. The good news is this – Peaky Blinders has lost none of its bravery.
Much like the BBC’s other drama juggernaut, Line of Duty, Peaky Blinders has been given a ‘promotion’ to the BBC’s flagship channel. Those who are worried the move channels will mean creator Steven Knight will need to tone down the violence and grit the series is known for have no need for concern. The first ten minutes chime out loudly in the vein of a discordant musical. Not many words are uttered as the series arc forms but when the guitars aren’t shimmering, they’re crashing into your very soul. The score by Anna Calvi is pitch-perfect with the atmosphere throughout. It curates the darkness beautifully.
There are other noticeable changes at play too. Peaky Blinders has always been visually stunning but the game has been upped further if episode one is anything to go by. Anthony Byrne’s direction is the perfect contradiction of slick and edgy. The whole thing looks incredible.
A less explored area in the show is the humour because frankly there’s never much to smile about. Here there are some genuinely laugh out loud moments. Two scenes with Arthur, in particular, are comedy gold. If this whole gyspy gangster thing doesn’t work out he’s always got an unlikely career touring the country’s Jongleurs venues as back up.
What of the storyline? Not much can be divulged but Tommy’s demons are stronger than ever and summed up with a powerful visual in a scene with his horse that says a thousand words. We also see his first, not at all tentative, steps in the halls of Westminster and it’s even more exciting than we could ever have expected. Cillian is in fierce form.
While most series that make it to a fifth run are on a downward curve, Peaky Blinders has offered up one of its strongest ever episodes. You are in for a treat, just not of the baked variety.
Read all of our Peaky Blinders Series Five interviews here
Contributed by Michael Lee.
Peaky Blinders returns for series 5 on Sunday 25th August at 9.00pm on BBC ONE