With the sixth and final series all done and dusted, the Peaky Blinders television sage is over. However, it has left a lasting impression culturally in the UK. Many fans will have been disappointed to see the series end but it was the right time for Stephen Knight to let Tommy Shelby and Co to leave our BBC screens. So why was it time for the show to end? Obviously, there will be spoilers about the final series of Peaky Blinders.
Since September 2013, Peaky Blinders has had viewers hooked. The first series had an average viewing of 2.38 million people and by series 5 there were 5.87 million. The fascination with Small Heath’s gangsters was massive.
The show followed predominantly the brothers of the gang The Peaky Blinders, the three brothers Tommy (Cillian Murphy), Arthur (Paul Anderson) and John (Joe Cole) Shelby. However, they are not the only members of the family to have important main roles. They also include Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) and Ada Thorne nee Shelby (Sophie Rundle) the formidable women of the Shelby family.
The show introduced more main characters over the years and even included some famous names from the acting world. Guest appearances from Sam Neil, Tom Hardy, Adrien Brody, Sam Claflin, Anya Taylor-Joy and Stephen Graham.
Each series shows how the brothers aim to take over Birmingham and build up their dominance over the country. There are relations with the Russians in series 3, problems with Italian/Americans in series 4 and then tackling fascism in series 5 and 6.
As the series has carried on there was more focus on Tommy as the lead character with him being the more level-headed, if there is a level-headed Shelby, then anyone else. We see him go from gangster bookmaker to doing deals surrounding gin to becoming an MP. Tommy is the real anti hero story.
This finally led to the final series where there was a more in depth investigation into the psyche of Tommy and how he has to deal with someone who has finally outwitted him. There is a sense of
Was the series struggling?
The first two series were award winning, many people signed up to betting sites new customer offers to get it in time for the BAFTAs, and created a cultural revolution in many circles in the UK. It did suffer with a confusing storyline in series 3 but in series 4 with the introduction of a vendetta from Luca Changretta (Brody) the series was well and truly back on track.
Series 5 challenged the talk of fascism in the UK prior to WWII and again had fans on the edge of the seat. However, it did start to feel that the show should be coming to an end as Tommy was surviving each series when he was doing more and more awful things to “protect his family”; well basically massage his own ego.
It did feel like it was moving away from its routes and the dynamic between Tommy and Arthur, the two founding characters, was being lost. However, with the announcement of the final series fans accepted that it was best for the show before it became drawn out.
The final series and film
Fans knew the end was coming and when the news in episode four came that shocking news that Tommy had an inoperable brain tumour as he was told by his doctor in his office. It felt this was the only way to take him down and Tommy began to get everything in order for his family whilst dealing with fascists. Tommy was fighting everything it seemed including Polly’s son, Michael Gray (Finn Cole).
It all came to a head in the final episode where we Tommy felt he had everything in order, killed Michael (who thought he had outsmarted Tommy) and was accepting of his death. However, he found out that he was being duped by the British fascists and the doctor who informed him of his terminal illness was in fact a lie.
With no more series, there is one last outing on the big screen and Tommy Shelby will still be there!