Thousands attend Peaky Blinders auditions in Birmingham

Producers said they were looking to cast a "pivotal role" in the new series of Peaky Blinders, set in 1920s Birmingham

Thousands of people turned up at casting auditions for the Birmingham-based BBC drama Peaky Blinders.

The first series of the show, set in the 1920s and starring Cillian Murphy, attracted audiences of about 2.4 million.

Producers appealed for local people to come forward in a hope to cast three or four "pivotal" roles.

By the time doors opened for casting at Minerva Works in Fazeley Street, queues were stretching several hundred yards.

Dominic Jones Dominic Jones, 17, was one of thousands hoping to win a part

One of those hoping for a part was Dominic Jones, 17, an A-Level student from Bishop Walsh Catholic School in Sutton Coldfield.

He said he was currently auditioning to go to drama school.

"You've got to take every chance that comes.

"I really liked [the series], it's very gritty. I thought it was really cool.

"I feel it would be a fun part to play, because it's very different to how I am now."

'Go for it'

Analysis

Even before the casting session started at Minerva Works on Fazeley Street, the queues were stretching as far as Banbury Street.

Ninety minutes later the queue had not got any shorter.

Alongside the would-be actors, parents and friends joined them, offering their support.

This was just the first round of auditions and there are several stages before the parts will be cast.

Daniel Edwards, 15, from Acocks Green, was one of those who got through to the next round of auditions.

"I saw [the advert] on Facebook," he said.

"I really want the part now.

"Now I've got through to the next round I want to go for it fully."

Producers said they were looking for white men aged between 13 and 19 and mixed-race men aged between 15 and 17.

Matthew Burkett, 16, from Solihull, said he would "love to be part of the show" and hoped his accent - as someone who was born and bred in Birmingham - would stand him in good stead for a part.

The first series, which was generally well received, attracted some criticism for some of the cast's "dodgy" West Midlands accents.

Filming for the second series is set to begin at the end of February and expected to broadcast in the autumn.

One of the executive producers Jamie Glazebrook said the second series would see the main Shelby family extend their influence.

Joe Cole, Cillian Murphy and Paul Anderson The BBC Two show starred Cillian Murphy (centre)

"The enterprise is expanding and the 1920s begin to roar. They're going to be fighting some astonishing battles," he said.

Set in Birmingham, the series takes its name from a real-life gang in the city who had razor blades hidden in the peaks of their flat caps.

Mr Glazebrook said producers were looking for a new "compelling screen presence", although previous acting experience was not required.

"I don't want people to think, 'I'm not trained'. Sometimes for actors of this age people have just got it."

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