EXCLUSIVE: The Steven Knight-created period gangster epic Peaky Blinders wrapped its Season 4 run in the UK last month, and with consolidated figures now tabulated, it scores as the most-watched drama of 2017 on BBC Two. The season average was 3.3M viewers with a peak episode volume of 3.6M for the finale — the biggest audience for an episode ever.

The numbers also make it the most popular season for the Shelby clan. Previous season averages were 2.4M, 2.2M and 2.4M, respectively. What’s more, BBC iPlayer figures also reflect the popularity of the critically acclaimed drama. Each episode received more than 1M requests in the seven days after broadcast. Sign-in data also shows that nearly 60% of the iPlayer audience was under 35.

Created and written by Knight, and produced by Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Two, the series is currently available on Netflix and will return for Season 5 in 2019.

It also today picked up five nominations from the Irish Film and Television Academy. Those include Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Director for David Caffrey, Best Supporting Actress for Charlie Murphy who just joined this year, Best Cinematography for Cathal Watters and Best Editing for Dermot Diskin.

Season 4 saw the Shelbys move back to Small Heath as they fought their greatest enemy ever, the New York mafia. Newly featuring this season were Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen and Murphy. Charlotte Riley and Tom Hardy returned for some episodes.

Knight, who has designs on a West End musical version of the series as well as a possible film, says, “Peaky continues to grow not just as a TV show but also as a cultural phenomenon. As makers, we watch the creativity and invention of our fan base as closely as they watch the show. There is a great engine of support behind the show all around the world even in countries where it is not officially available. The BBC gave us a free and open platform to create something other broadcasters may not have understood. The story will continue.”

For exec producer Mandabach, “It is wildly gratifying to realize how connected our audience is to Tommy Shelby, his family, and everyone in his orbit. Though the action takes place nearly a hundred years ago, Steve has an unparalleled ability to make every character resonate as though they were alive today.”

Will Gould, also exec producer, says, “Year after year, the very best cast and crew come together to bring Steve’s astonishing scripts to life. It’s a testament to them, to Cillian and to Steve that this series goes from strength to strength in every way.”

And Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two, noted “Peaky Blinders just gets better and better. It is such a distinctive, brilliantly crafted, beautifully acted series that Steven Knight, the production team and the exceptional cast take to another level. It is brilliant that such a broad, younger audience loves the series as much as we do at BBC Two. We can’t wait for the next series!”