By Constantinos Iacovides
Peaky Blinders follows an urban street gang in war-torn Birmingham in the early 20th century. Run by the notorious Shelby family, the Peaky Blinders engage in criminal activities such as illegal bookmaking, racketeering and control of gambling. The gang is led by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), whose thirst for power and money steers the family into a world of crime and violence of a different dimension.
As the show progresses, Tommy’s ambition drives him towards more and more complicated situations, often coming up against people and organisations much more powerful than him. However, Tommy’s criminal genius keeps him alive and helps him progress as his power and influence keep growing. The show gets better with each season as Tommy and his brothers turn from lower class illegal bookmakers to one of the most feared families in Britain.
However, what makes Peaky Blinders such a masterpiece is the merging of the storyline with the historical context of the time. Throughout the series numerous contemporary issues, such as the post-WWI economic and social backdrop of Britain, the involvement of the British government in the Russian Revolution and even the emergence of fascism in Western Europe are brought to life. Real-life historical figures such as Winston Churchill and Oswald Mosley are also referred to in the show.
But it is with the amazing visuals and music selection that the show really stands out. Its scenes take you through the mud, fire and smoke of Birmingham’s dangerous neighbourhoods and dark industrial areas while alternative rock and punk music sets the mood for explosions, gunfights and all kinds of scenes to give a good adrenaline rush.
The show’s creator Steven Knight has managed to produce a show that is extremely special in so many ways that I can’t imagine anyone would question its spot in the top five series of all time. The storyline, the context, the amazing visuals, the music and Cillian Murphy’s excellent depiction of a criminal mastermind haunted by his own traumatic experiences, all contribute to creating a highly addictive show.