Thomas Shelby and co are back
You’re one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan – designed and directed by his red right hand. Tommy Shelby and co are back, and more brutal than ever. Here’s everything we know about Peaky Blinders season four.
Watch Peaky Blinders season 4
Peaky Blinders‘ fourth series has now begun, and is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Each new episode of season four has been uploaded to the streaming service following its premiere on BBC Two.
What’s the latest?
- As of December 13, five episodes of season 4 have aired.
- Tom Hardy is back. Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillan, and Charlie Murphy have all joined the cast for season 4.
- We’ve also met new character Bonnie Gold, played by Jack Rowan
- Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker have shared their cover of the theme tune, Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’
- Season 5 has already been ordered, with Cillian Murphy set to star.
When did Peaky Blinders season 4 begin?
It started on Wednesday, November 15. The season is due to finish on December 20, 2017.
How many episodes are there?
Six – as with every season of Peaky Blinders.
How did season 3 end?
Having defied the Russians in a jewel heist and blown up a train – all in an episode’s work – season 3’s shocking finale saw Polly, Michael, Arthur and John of the Shelby clan all handcuffed and taken away by police at the conclusion of a dramatic scene, with Tommy left looking on having betrayed those closest to him.
What’s going to happen in season 4?
The season proper picks up one year on from the events of season 3, with the main action of season 4 kicking off on December 23, 1925.
Peaky Blinders’ creator and writer Steven Knight said: “I want to shine the light on the 1920s and hopefully the 1930s, making it a true between-the-Wars family story. I want the family trajectory to continue upwards and for them to become wealthier and more powerful. The only thing I want to do is for Tommy to be knighted.”
More unlikely things have happened than hearing “Arise, Sir Tommy Shelby” – 2016, for instance.
Speaking to the BBC about Tommy’s future with his family, Cillian Murphy said: “I think his family think that he’s betrayed them, and it’s up to Tommy to demonstrate to them that he hasn’t betrayed them.”
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Has the writing team changed?
Nope – Steven Knight has returned to write every episode of series 4, and he’ll also pen the entirety of season 5 too.
“I’m loving it,” he said. “And it’s not like work, it’s not like a labour, I love doing it, and the boys are coming back and they’re loving the scripts.”
Who in the cast is back?
Cillian Murphy confirmed that he’ll be in both series 4 and 5. Paul Anderson and Joe Cole returned as Tommy’s brothers Arthur and John Shelby for series 4, while Helen McCrory is also back as the Shelby matriarch Aunt Polly.
Tom Hardy will also reprise his role as the violent London gang leader Alfie Solomons in season 4.
The below picture from the set also suggests that Finn Shelby (played by Alfie Evans-Meese) and Isiah Jesus (Jordan Bolger) could take a more central role in season 4.
Charlotte Riley is also back as May Carleton, who was last seen in series two. She was photographed on set at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley with Cillian Murphy back in May.
Along with the Gold family who are offering the Shelby’s protection is young boxer Bonnie.
“Tommy Shelby says, ‘Let’s take the kid on,’ so he becomes a business element for the family,” actor Jack Rowan told NME. “The journey essentially sees me becoming a part of their team. I don’t become a Peaky Blinder, I stay loyal and I do what I’m told. Not because I’m dumb, but that’s his principle. He ends up becoming part of their crew, but he stays an outsider. He only really wants to become a boxer, and he can’t do that without the Shelby’s. As the story grows, I get into the professional boxing world.”
“The way I saw it, his objective is to become a boxing champion. Bonnie is the son of an assassin, a powerful man. But what I love about Aiden [Gillen] and his character [Aberama Gold] is the love he has for his son. The way I looked at it, from Bonnie’s perspective, he’s using the Shelby’s in a way. They have contacts, they’re a well known crew amongst people. I’m part of their team, but the life I want is as a boxer. He doesn’t get emotionally invested in them as people, but he gets emotionally invested in the world of boxing. If he loses, he loses everything. He doesn’t want the criminal life.”
Who’s joined the cast?
Adrien Brody: The Oscar-winner is playing Thomas Shelby’s “biggest threat” and all-round bastard, Luca Changretta.
Aidan Gillen: Game of Thrones‘ Littlefinger is taking part in season 4 too. Speaking to Metro.co.uk, creator Steven Knight said of Gillen’s role: “Aidan is a sort of – in the face of danger it’s like pressing the nuclear button – you get him to help. Let me put it that way.”
Charlie Murphy: Happy Valley‘s Charlie Murphy plays Jessie Eden, who is based on a real-life trade union activist.
Was there a trailer for Peaky Blinders season 4?
Yep – here it is.
What happened on set?
Filming began in March in Toxteth, Liverpool in March 2017, with the yellow road lines obscured and vintage cars lining the roads – plus some classic advertising billboards to recreate 1920s Birmingham.
Various sources shared photos of Cillian Murphy and co filming, with Murphy in character as Tommy Shelby filming scenes running around the streets of Toxteth with a gun in hand.
The BBC have now released a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of season four – check it out below.
What’s happened in season 4 so far?
Season four opened with Tommy managing to save Arthur, John, Michael and Polly from being hung for the crimes they were arrested for at the end of season 3 – but with the damage between the family and Tommy having already been done.
The episode then sped forward to Christmas Eve 1925, when the Shelby family – including the returning Ada – each received a threatening card with featured the much-feared “black hand”. Rather than serving as a friendly Christmas card, the greeting was actually a message from the nasty New York mafia, led by Adrien Brody’s Luca Changretta, who have arrived in the UK to exact revenge on the Peaky Blinders for the murders of Angel and Vincente.
The letter is enough for Tommy to decide to bring his family back together – but after discovering that a Mafia hitman had been working in his country mansion, Tommy realised that Changretta had been planning to take out the entire family on Christmas Day. However, his warnings to the rest of the family failed to reach John in time, who, along with Michael, was gunned down by mafia hitmen outside John’s family home. Sob.
The second episode opened with the grim confirmation that John, who took a shit-ton of bullets to the chest in the last episode, had indeed been killed by the mafia. Michael survived, but is gravely injured.
John’s death is enough for the Shelby family to agree to put aside their differences and reunite, with Tommy insisting that the family all move back to Birmingham until they can eliminate the mafia threat. Safety in numbers and all that, right?
Tommy calls in help from Aberama Gold (played by Aidan Gillen) to take on Changretta, with Gold asking the Shelbys to take on his boxing son, Bonnie, in return. Polly is outraged by Tommy’s actions, and tries to convince Michael to move to Australia with her once he’s fully recovered from his injuries – an invitation Michael declines due to his loyalty to the Peaky Blinders.
Meanwhile, trade activist and Communist Jessie Eden rallies the workers in Tommy’s factory to go on strike, leading to conflict between the two. The second episode then concluded with Tommy’s first face-to-face meeting with Changretta, who placed seven bullets on Tommy’s office table to represent his intention to kill each member of the Shelby family. He also grimly revealed his plan to kill Tommy last.
Episode three took a slight break from the relenting violence and threat of season 4 to reveal the identity of Tommy’s first love, Greta Di Rossi, who he lost before going off to fight in the First World War.
Elsewhere, the Shelbys agreed – without Arthur’s consent – that Aberama Gold should kill Luca Changretta, much to Arthur’s annoyance. Though the tough Shelby man had enough to deal with after two of Changretta’s men broke into the family’s factory – but you already know that Arthur dealt with that threat pretty quickly.
A fairly stable episode was ratcheted up to a tense climax as Polly met Changretta for the first time, with Polly shockingly offering to sacrifice Tommy in exchange for the lives of Arthur, Michael and Finn. Outrageous.
Changretta then seemingly made a play for Arthur’s life by setting up for a trap meeting with the mother of the boy he previously killed in a boxing match. However, it was all a distraction as the Italians actually made their way to Michael’s hospital bedside, where they informed him that they would accept Polly’s offer. The Blinders retaliate by trapping them on a bridge and shooting many of their men. Meanwhile, Tommy sets up a boxing match for Bonnie Gold with one of Alfie Solomons’ fighters. May Carleton also re-enters the scene to train one of Tommy’s racehorses, but their romance is not rekindled. Elsewhere, Polly tells Lizzie that she’s pregnant with Tommy’s baby.
Episode fifth kicks off with a massive and bloody shoot-out between Tommy and the Italians, but bigger news follows when Lizzie tells Tommy about her pregnancy. Michael then teams up with Aberama Gold’s gypsies to go into hiding away from Changretta, before it emerges that Polly was double-crossing the Italians with her deal all along. Ahead of the season finale, Tom Hardy’s appearance as Solomons marks a highlight of the series so far – before he appears to form a potentially deadly alliance with the Shelby’s enemies ahead of the season finale…
What next for Peaky Blinders?
Season 5 has been ordered by the BBC, but, sadly, it may well be the show’s last as Knight only plans to take the Shelbys up to the outbreak of the Second World War.
“I hope it does run and run all the way up to the Second World War, but it does get harder to get the cast together as the actors are being pulled into feature films,” Knight said. “It’s a victim of its own success.”
However, last year Steven Knight and executive producer Caryn Mandabach said: “We did have a conversation about potentially doing a movie.” What a tease.
Additional words: Sam Moore and Nick Harris