14 March 2017
Today’s Top Pick
Today’s pick is the BBC television show Peaky Blinders.
Set after the First World War, Peaky Blinders follows the exploits of the notorious Peaky Blinders gang in Birmingham, England. With the Shelby family at its centre, the show mainly focuses on Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) as he tries to expand his gang and create a more legitimate business.
Interesting fact: The Peaky Blinders were a real gang in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. The name is said to have come from the fact that members stitched razor blades into the peak of their flat caps, which were used as weapons in fights.
Throughout the show, we meet other important members of the gang, including Arthur and John Shelby, their Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and sister Ada, as well as the thorn in their side, C.I. Chester Campbell (Sam Neill).
Like most shows about gangs and crimes, we are also introduced to their many, many rivals—whether that be other gangs or sneaky cops. With Thomas Shelby’s desire to rise up in the world, he’s bound to make several enemies.
What makes Peaky Blinders so fascinating, to me, is the portrayal of these believable characters. They all have such major flaws that truly make them seem real. Take Thomas Shelby, for instance. A Sergeant Major in the First World War, Tommy comes home from France with many problems. He’s a different man than he used to be. He’s more serious and sees the world differently. No man really comes home from war, and Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Tommy is phenomenal. We have this severely flawed man who is suffering from what he witnessed in the war, but he has ambitions and goals and wants his family’s business to thrive. He’s driven and intense. Others think him a cruel man, but behind closed doors, you get to see his emotions and weaknesses.
The time period of this show is also something that is really fascinating. The first season is set in 1919. World War One has just ended and the men have returned. Women have to get used to going back to just being housewives and having less responsibility, while the men take over everything again. I imagine it would have been a difficult time to live in.
With only six episodes in the first series, I finished series one rather quickly and have moved on to series two, which is set two years later in 1921.
This season introduces Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons, a Jewish gang leader and Noah Tyler as Darby Sabini, an Italian gang leader. These two new leaders add an exciting new chapter for the show. With new gangs in the mix, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.
The third season aired in 2016, with a fourth and fifth already approved for production.
This is a show I have been meaning to watch for such a long time, and boy am I ever glad I finally got around to it. Peaky Blinders is definitely a show I would recommend.