The return of Peaky Blinders to BBC Two on Wednesday night scored the best season opening ratings in the overnights since the series’ top-ranked start in September 2013. Season 4’s debut of the Steven Knight-created period gangster epic drew 2.3M viewers in the UK last night, swaggering in just a notch behind the Season 1 start of 2.4M four years ago.
Reviews for the S4 opener coming out of the UK are stellar as the Shelby family is forced to reunite after S3’s intense finale saw Cillian Murphy’s Tommy turn the tables and have them all arrested. In its May launch last year, Season 3 drew 2M overnight viewers, and back in 2014, Season 2’s start scored 1.7M.
The six-episode series from Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect has continued to build its popularity among a faithful fan base in 163 countries. Season 4 will become available on Netflix in the U.S. after the BBC Two run, although a date has not yet been confirmed.
Season 4 opens with Tommy estranged from the family and partaking of “sex, freedom and whiskey sours.” But when he realizes they are all in danger of annihilation, he summons them to return to the streets of Birmingham’s Small Heath, where a desperate fight for survival begins.
Mandabach tells Deadline, “We are absolutely thrilled to see the overnights for Peaky Blinders. To be getting this level of audience support for Season 4 is hugely satisfying. All credit is due to Steven Knight’s stellar scripts, our incredible cast, and our wildly creative production team. It is also wonderful that BBC have seen a huge shift in the audience demographic with younger viewers leading the way. We look forward to higher consolidated numbers, and of course to series 5.”
Will Gould, MD of Tiger Aspect, adds, “Peaky Blinders continues to be a bench-mark of quality for the television we want to make, these figures re-enforce that the show continues to go from strength to strength and with the support of the BBC already commissioning series 5, we look forward to going into production next year.”
Joining the cast this time around are Adrien Brody as mafia scion Luca Changretta; Charlie Murphy as Jessie Eden, the trade union activist who made history in the 1920s fighting for equal pay for women; and Game Of Thrones’ alum Aidan Gillen as Aberama Gold, a larger-than-life gypsy who Knight describes as “the devil you know.” Returning cast includes Paul Anderson, Helen McCrory, Tom Hardy, and Charlotte Riley appearing for the first time since Season 2 as May Carleton.