Peaky Blinders blazed back onto UK television on Sunday night, scoring its best-ever debut with an average 3.7M viewers in the overnights. The Cillian Murphy-led series, now airing on BBC One, comfortably won the 9PM slot with a 22.8 share, and peaked at 4M viewers.
The six-episode 5th season marks a move to Sundays and to BBC One from Peaky’s previous home on BBC Two, after it took the Best TV Drama BAFTA for Season 4. That run was Peaky’s most-watched, and the show the top drama of 2017 on BBC Two at a consolidated 3.3M viewers.
Because the Steven Knight-created series shifted networks this year, comparisons are not apples-to-apples. However, the 5th season premiere blasted past previous overnight launches which were led by Season 1 (2.4M average viewers), Season 4 (2.3M), Season 3 (2M) and Season 2 (1.7M).
Knight has told me this is the best season yet, and reaction out of the UK to episode 1 has been glowing. Episode 2 of the crime saga will air tonight in Britain, and then the show will pick up in its regular Sunday time slot going forward.
Peaky, from Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect, this season kicks off with the Wall Street crash of 1929, and the Shelby family “seriously affected because they’ve invested their legitimate money and are going to have to fall back on the illegitimate money,” Knight recently told Deadline. He also promised “shocks and surprises to come.”
The stakes are even higher for Murphy’s Tommy Shelby who is now an MP facing a new foil in Sam Claflin’s Oswald Mosley, a firebrand real-life politician who became leader of the British Union of Fascists. When Mosley approaches Tommy with his bold vision for Britain, the Birmingham gangster realizes that his response will impact not only the future of his family, but that of the entire nation.
And yet, Tommy’s greatest enemy in Season 5 will be himself as the show delves into the psyche of this conflicted antihero.
Director of this season is Anthony Byrne who brings a cinematic sheen and, along with a score by Anna Calvi, a punk energy.
Netflix will make S5 available beginning October 4, in the U.S. and all markets where it has rights to the show. There has been no official confirmation from the BBC on Season 6, although Knight is currently writing it and a green light is expected.