The ultra-hip, multi-award-winning BBC drama Peaky Blinders, which made undercuts and cloth caps fashionable for the first time in decades, has returned with season six, but at the moment is only available on British TV.
For international viewers, the sixth and final season will be broadcast on Netflix in June. The gripping interwar tale of crime, politics and the all-too-frequent link between the two, starring Cillian Murphy as the leader of the titular Birmingham gang, has been captivating audiences around the world since 2013, and the grand finale seems sure to keep us all glued to our screens for a little longer.
Here’s everything you need to know as we count down to one final hurrah for Thomas Shelby and his Brummie bandit brethren.
When’s it out?
It will debut internationally on Netflix on June 10. If you want to avoid spoilers, you might want to mute any British friends on social media until then, since the show started broadcasting on the BBC in February.
We’ve had to wait since 2019 for the new season because, as with so many productions around the world, the show’s original February 2020 shoot was abruptly halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thankfully, this time, global audiences don’t have to wait quite as long after the show is broadcast on the BBC as they did for previous series. The 104-day gap between season six’s BBC debut and its arrival on Netflix may seem excruciating, but it’s a significant improvement on the 241 days we had to wait for season five, or the whopping 584 days we waited for season three.
Who’s in it?
The cast is led by Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby, the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang the show is named after. The season five cliffhanger seemed to suggest Shelby, struggling with PTSD from his experiences in the First World War and the stress of his efforts to infiltrate the British Union of Fascists, had killed himself.
Given the character’s central role, and his frequent presence in the season six trailer, it’s probably not too much of a spoiler to theorise that he didn’t succeed and will be back with us.
Murphy is supported by an all-star cast including Tom Hardy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Paul Anderson and Sam Neill. One familiar face we won’t be seeing in season six is Helen McCrory, who had played Shelby family matriarch Polly since 2013. McCrory died of breast cancer in 2021, and the first episode is set to be a tribute to the actress.
Murphy addressed his co-star’s death in an emotional interview with Esquire in February, saying that “if it wasn’t for Covid, there would be a whole other version of this show with Helen in it”.
What’s it about?
Peaky Blinders follows the exploits of Birmingham crime family the Shelbys, aka the Peaky Blinders. The first series began in the immediate aftermath of the First World War and found the Shelbys dealing largely in stolen weapons from the war. By season six, however, the family have moved up in the world, though you still wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alleyway.
It’s now 1933, and Tommy is a serving MP in the British parliament. He hasn’t lost his sense of adventure, though. By now he’s taken his crime business global, even establishing links with notorious American mobster Al Capone. He’s heavily involved in the fight against fascism, having tried to assassinate British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley at the end of season five, and he’s stuck in a somewhat fractious relationship with the Irish Republican Army. Just a typical family in the English Midlands, then.
The show is loosely based on the real-life Peaky Blinders, although in reality that gang had ceased to be a significant part of the Birmingham underworld by 1910.