'This is the most ambitious series yet!' says Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy

Peaky Blinders series five Tommy Shelby
(Image credit: BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd 2019/Robert Viglasky)

The hit gangster series enters the murky world of power and politics...

The Peaky Blinders are back and Tommy Shelby will be swapping the back streets of Birmingham for the corridors of power in the fifth series of this BAFTA-winning gangster saga.

After years of success on BBC2, the crime drama makes the switch to BBC1 this Bank Holiday weekend, opening with an action-packed double bill.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders series five as Tommy

"Tommy is entering parliament, which is a world of great opportunity and terrible danger," says Cillian (Image credit: BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd 2019/Robert Viglasky)

Fans will remember that the Peaky's leader, Tommy, was elected to parliament at the end of the last series and Cillian Murphy, who plays the crime boss, says writer Stephen Knight has given the show an extra dimension to this year, while staying true to its roots.

"This is the most ambitious series yet," explains Cillian. "Tommy is entering parliament, which is a world of great opportunity and terrible danger, so it’s really gone up a level. We see him making a few speeches in the House of Commons but all the old stuff that people love about the show is there. The Shelby family is still the heart and it’s still about the rise of this gang from Birmingham."

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Opening in the aftermath of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, we rejoin the Shelby clan as they struggle to come to terms with the economic collapse, yet while some are bemoaning their bad luck, Tommy senses an opportunity…

"Tommy’s almost overburdened with strategic intellect," explains Cillian. "He can’t help but spot opportunities when he comes across people and situations, but he’s conflicted. When he went away to war he had communist beliefs, but are those old beliefs dead or merely dormant?

"I think they still exist deep down. Can a good man do bad things for a good reason? Last time the mafia was his foe, but now it feels like he’s locked in an internal struggle. I think he’s trying to find his place in the world, which makes him a fascinating character to play."

Peaky Blinders series five Tommy on a horse

Tommy is a "fascinating" character to play, reckons Cillian (Image credit: BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd 2019/Robert Viglasky)

Steven Knight has long said that he plans for the show to run for seven series, finishing as the first sirens of World War Two fill the air, however it seems, the show's creator already has Tommy's fate planned out in his head.

"I do have something in mind for Tommy in series seven, episode six," he explains. "But I also have the freedom to get there any way I want. I can take the scenic byways, the tourist route."

Rumours of a Peaky Blinders film have been circulating for many years and Steven has made no secret of his desire to keep the story going once the TV show ends...

"When the energy behind something is so strong, it seems a shame to stop it," he says. "But I want to get to the destination I had at the very start and then we’ll look at where we are."

Peaky Blinders returns to BBC1 on Sunday 25th August at 9pm

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.