Cillian Murphy has played a number of notable roles over the years, but when it’s all said and done his best work is likely to go down as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby. As the lead character on Peaky Blinders, he’s carved out a character who is equal parts ruthless and sympathetic. It’s a fascinating dynamic and he’s helped carry the show for many years. And now there’s somewhat exciting news for the BBC program with word that Peaky Blinders will finish its story with a movie.
Peaky Blinders is entering its sixth season of the show and, according to creator and showrunner Steven Knight, had originally been slated for a seventh season as well. But because of pandemic-related closings and shutdowns, getting through an entire additional season of production is starting to feel like a near-impossibility. But rather than cut the story short and call it quits, The Peaky Blinders folks basically decided to take Cillian Murphy’s/Tommy Shelby’s story to a movie version instead.
Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby is the leader of the titular gang, The Peaky Blinders. The show takes place starting in the 1920s, following the events of World War I. After fighting on the front lines of that terrible conflict, Shelby is home in Birmingham, England running the family business of illegal gambling, loan sharking and just exhibiting a mafia-like control over the city. The Shelby family comprises most of the gang’s higher-ups with Tommy at the head. Murphy’s stone-eyed and stoic approach to the character is haunting and mesmerizing.
While a fictional show, Peaky Blinders does follow historical events of the time pretty closely and has even worked to introduce real people into the mix. Winston Churchill has made appearances along with a number of other political names of the period. Cillian Murphy has had to match wits with these folks along the way in his rise to power, making the show even that much more interesting from a quasi-historical perspective.
Season Five of Peaky Blinders started with the Stock Market crash of 1929 and ended with Cillian Murphy’s Shelby at something of a mental, family, and business crossroads. Season Six has actually just finally begun filming this month. That is significantly behind the original schedule thanks to the aforementioned delays because of Covid-19. Now, it looks like the end of this season, whenever it comes, will be something of the show’s penultimate episode with a movie acting as the finale.
While more seasons of the award-winning show would have been an awesome prospect, it is great to know the series has the latitude to finish within its original vision. Most shows don’t get that chance, production issues or not. And the series’ success is thanks, in large part, to what Cillian Murphy has brought to the screen as Tommy Shelby. He’s been a singular acting force in the role and it’s hard to imagine another acting pulling it off in quite the same way. As of right now, Peaky Blinders’ Season Six is slated to release on the BBC sometime this year.