Peaky Blinders

An epic gangster drama starring Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Helen McCrory on BBC Two

Interview with Steven Knight

I’m always very keen that any act of violence has a consequence in terms of the story. Very rarely in the real world is there an act of violence that doesn’t have quite a big consequence."Steven Knight, Writer and Creator, Peaky Blinders
Category: BBC Two; Drama

What is Peaky Blinders?

It's based on real events. My parents, particularly my dad, had these tantalising memories of from when he was nine or 10 years old of these people. They were incredibly well dressed, they were incredibly powerful, they had a lot of money in an area where no one had money and... they were gangsters!

In a way I want Peaky Blinders to be a sort of the view of this world through the eyes of a 10-year-old because the men are smarter and stronger and handsomer and the horses are bigger and everything is big and intimidating as a kid.

Tell us about the characters

The core male characters are three brothers. Arthur being the oldest would naturally be the leader of the gang but Tommy, the younger brother, is naturally a leader. One of the wider issues that I wanted to point out was that all of these men had returned from the First World War where they had been instructed to carry out mass murder every day on an unprecedented industrial scale. They’ve returned very damaged and they are violent as a result of their experiences so you have that very interesting dynamic of men returning from the front line and finding they cannot live an ordinary life.

Was it hard writing some of the more violent scenes?

I’m always very keen that any act of violence has a consequence in terms of the story. Very rarely in the real world is there an act of violence that doesn’t have quite a big consequence. So in an early episode when they do use the razor blades it has a consequence that lasts the rest of the series.