Series creator Steven Knight explains why he changed his original plan for the Peaky Blinders season 6 ending, deciding to go beyond WWII.
Steven Knight, creator and showrunner of the hit historical series Peaky Blinders reveals how he changed the series’ original planned ending “to keep it going” beyond what was first intended. Knight, who has also written for the BBC’s The Detectives and Taboo, created the series in 2013 with the intention of following the exploits of the Shelby crime family between World Wars 1 and 2. Featuring a cast led by Cillian Murphy, the drama charts the meteoric rise of Murphy’s Thomas “Tommy” Shelby and his kin up the British socio-economic ladder. After starting as a former soldier and petty street thug, the Peaky Blinders season 5 saw Tommy climb even further as he was elected to the British parliament.
Peaky Blinders season 6, which premiered on BBC One in February and is due to hit Netflix in June, is intended to serve as the show’s final season, though it has been confirmed it will be followed up by a spinoff film. Having earned itself a swathe of awards and a legion of devoted fans, the show has even had a measurable impact on British culture as a whole, as confirmed by the UK’s Office of National Statistics. In 2020, it inspired the puzzle adventure video game Peaky Blinders: Mastermind.
Addressing the future of the Peaky Blinders franchise, Knight took the opportunity earlier this year to speak with Empire and explain his decision to move away from his original plan of ending the story prior to the start of World War II. Saying there is “the energy that is out there in the world for this”, he is pushing the story beyond its original boundaries “to see how [the show] can progress beyond that.” Check out his full comments below:
It was always Britain between the wars — how the lesson from one war was not learned and was repeated. It’s also the end of empire: we enter the Second World War and by the end of it, there is no empire, really. But I… have revised the scope of what it is. It will now go into and beyond the Second World War. Because I just think the energy that is out there in the world for this, I want to keep it going, and I want to see how this can progress beyond that.
The changing scope and the incorporation of World War II is not the only unexpected change in direction the show has seen in its final season and beyond. Sadly, Peaky Blinders‘ actor Helen McCrory, who played the family matriarch Aunt Polly, passed away while season 6 was being filmed. While British fans have already learned how the show deals with her absence, it certainly provided Knight and the show’s entire creative team with a major challenge to overcome.
By all accounts, however, reviews are already praising it for the sensitive and thoughtful manner in which it handles Polly’s absence from Peaky Blinders season 6. If that sort of creative challenge can be handled by the show’s writers, no doubt the idea of expanding the show’s scope into the Second World War will be managed with comparative ease. It also bodes well for hopes of more potential spinoffs, aside from the already announced feature film. Meanwhile, fans of Peaky Blinders who reside outside of the UK will still have to wait a few more months before they can catch up on the Shelbys’ season 6 escapades when the new episodes finally reach Netflix.
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