Cillian Murphy and Steven Knight: Peaky Blinders will unveil a secret history of Birmingham - EXCLUSIVE

We talk to Cillian Murphy and writer Steven Knight about their new TV series Peaky Blinders

This week BBC2 will be airing the first episode of its epic new six part gangster drama Peaky Blinders.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders. Copyright [BBC] Based on the true story of gang leader Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy in his TV debut) the series takes place on the uncontrolled streets of post war Birmingham.

Created by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises), Peaky Blinders also stars Sam Neill and Helen McCrory.

Yahoo TV recently caught up with Cillian and Steven to find out exactly what to expect from the series.


Steven told us: “It’s the true story of a gangster family in Birmingham after the First World War and the world they inhabit. In England there was a culture of gangster-ism based around the race tracks.

“I think people will find a secret history unveiled.”

Cillian Murphy went on to explain that his character Thomas is damaged from the War after returning from the trenches.


He explained: “If you take the context. There were all these men de-mobbed from the army from the trenches in the First World War.

“So they were spat back out into society and just had to deal with the horrors they experienced.

“So he’s this quite damaged man and when we meet him at first he’s sort of emotionally crippled and then slowly, in the first episode, we see him become the head of the family.”

Sam Neill in Peaky Blinders. Copyright [BBC] He added: “He’s got this huge ambition for this family and this huge drive. Then he meets his nemesis who is this copper from Belfast played by Sam Neill who wants to kind of wipe them out.”

As for working with Sam Neill, Cillian had nothing but praise for the veteran actor.

He said: “I’ve loved Sam’s work for years, he’s a phenomenal actor and he can do just about anything. He has a tremendously pleasant energy to be around when on set. We had a great time together.”

Peaky Blinders begins on BBC 2 9pm Thursday 12 September.