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Gangster saga Peaky Blinders feature film locked and loaded

Cillian Murphy's <i>Oppenheimer</i> commitments kept him away from a <i>Peaky Blinders</i> movie. Now he's got time to return to Birmingham.

Cillian Murphy's Oppenheimer commitments kept him away from a Peaky Blinders movie. Now he's got time to return to Birmingham. Photo: Netflix

When gangster saga Peaky Blinders wrapped after six seasons in 2022, plans were already under way to take the Shelby crime family’s story to a bigger stage.

Talk of a feature film began in 2021, when it was decided a seventh season wasn’t going to happen due to the impact of the Covid pandemic, along with the tragic death of one of the stars, Helen McCrory.

After a three-year agonising wait, streaming giant Netflix on Wednesday announced Oppenheimer Oscar winner Cillian Murphy will reprise his role as gangster Thomas Shelby in a new movie, made in association with BBC Film.

“It seems like Shelby wasn’t finished with me,” Murphy – who is also on board as co-producer – told Netflix, adding the film version of the cult classic “is one for the fans”.

The film goes into production later this year, with a promise it will come with a “James Bond-style bang” when it hits the big screen.

British screenwriter and director Steven Knight told Deadline the film – believed to be set during WWII – would be “be an explosive chapter in the Peaky Blinders story. No holds barred. Full-on Peaky Blinders at war.”

Speaking as he collected a TRIC (Britain’s Television and Radio Industries Club) award for Best Drama this week, Knight said: “We could never have predicted how much this series about Birmingham ­gangsters in the ’20s and ’30s would resonate”.

“Some things just seem to have momentum and luck, and they stick, and everyone working on them feels that,” Knight said, teasing the movie “was not the end” of the franchise.

peaky blinders

Cillian Murphy will reprise his role, as will Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby), while other big-name stars may rejoin including Tom Hardy and Anya Taylor-Joy. Photo: Netflix

‘No holds barred … full on Peaky Blinders at war’

Set between 1919 and 1934, Peaky Blinders followed the rise (and sometimes fall) of the Shelby family as they navigated a world wracked with radical social, economic and political change.

Knight based his series on a notorious Birmingham gang that ran illegal trade, bribery and extortion. They dressed in tweed three-piece suits and flat caps.

Where did the name Peaky Blinders come from?

According to fan merchandise website, shelbybrothers.com, the caps have a practical function as well as a fashionable one, as they “sew razor-sharp razor blades into the brim of their caps … to wound enemies”, in the face and eyes.

The series has continued to be felt since it took its final bow in 2022.

Its meticulous approach to menswear spawned a fashion craze, and limited series One Day’s Leo Woodall cites the show as a key inspiration.

“I was watching Peaky Blinders and I put on my Peaky Blinders-style hat, did my Tommy Shelby impression and thought, ‘I wanna be an actor’.”

So what’s the story?

The last time we saw Shelby in the season six finale, he was riding off on a white horse, intent on starting a new life.

What does the movie hold in store for him?

The plot is still very much under wraps, but Knight did tease that things are about to go “boom”.

“I’m genuinely thrilled that this movie is about to happen,” Knight said.

“It will be an explosive chapter in the Peaky Blinders story … no holds barred … full-on Peaky Blinders at war.”

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