‘Peaky Blinders’ director responds to season six criticism

"You can't continue to give people what they're expecting"

The director of Peaky Blinders has responded to some criticism of the latest season.

While the season has been largely praised by critics and fans alike, some have criticised the pacing of the show and its lack of action when compared to previous seasons.

Warning: major spoilers for season six ahead 

Director Anthony Byrne, who worked on both seasons five and six, told Radio Times that he has “no problem” with criticism but added: “you can’t continue to give people what they’re expecting.”

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He continued: “You’re taking a show like Peaky that is culturally relevant, it’s a TV phenomenon, and there’s an expectation of, ‘I want Arthur kicking the s**t out of people and I want Tommy being Tommy and more Peaky stuff.’

“Season four was that. Season four was a gangster season with the Italians and the Peakys. There was a lot of gangster stuff and guns and all of that. And then season five was about the rise of fascism and it was darker.

Cillian Murphy
Tommy must fight harder than ever in the new season. CREDIT: BBC

“Season six is a character piece about the darkness of Tommy Shelby’s soul and it’s how far down is he going to have to go before he can get out. And will there be any left of him? That’s what it is for me. And audiences who love the character will go with it because they’re on a journey with this guy, with Tommy Shelby.

“There’s always going to be an element of people who want just the same stuff, but we’re not in it for that because it has to evolve, and it has to change. And it has to challenge the audience’s expectations and take you on a far deeper experience than you’re expecting to go.”

He added: “And then there are the obvious issues of grief and mourning that are permeating the season. With particular regard to the death of Polly and the death of Helen McCrory. But then the death of Ruby, which was always in the script, so it’s a double whammy.”

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The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders is currently airing on BBC One and is set to hit Netflix on June 10.

While this is the last run of episodes, several spin-offs and a feature-length movie are already in the pipeline. Speaking to NME, creator Steven Knight said: “I’m seeing this as the end of the beginning, rather than the beginning of the end.”

NME’s four-star review of Peaky Blinders season six said: “Impressively, there’s nothing about the return of Peaky Blinders that feels forced, contrived – and that hasn’t always been the case in the five-preceding series.

“We might just be an hour into the most keenly anticipated finale of 2022, but we’re off to a start as impressive as any of Tommy’s prized mares.”

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