Peaky Blinders fans in the U.S. still have to wait until Netflix drops Season 5 of the epic gangster drama on October 4, but in the UK last night, the season drew to a close on BBC One with a series high 3.8M overnight viewers. The figures edged the record previously set by this season’s episode 3, and come with a higher share at 22.6% of the audience. Overall, the Cillian Murphy-starrer has been blowing away numbers from Seasons 1-4 which aired on BBC Two. The first four episodes of this season have averaged 5.9M in 7-day consolidated viewing across all screens.
When the season debuted in late August, Peaky blazed back onto UK television with its best-ever launch at an average 3.7M viewers in the overnights (6.2M consolidated). Before the move to BBC One this year, Peaky’s highest overnight was the Season 4 finale at 2.4M. The Steven Knight-created crime saga took the Best TV Drama BAFTA for that season which was its then most-watched run at a consolidated 3.3M viewers.
Season 5, which Knight has consistently contended is the best one yet, kicks off with the Wall Street crash of 1929, and the Shelby crime family seriously affected. 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 is himself as the show delves into the psyche of this conflicted antihero. Overall, it features plenty of surprises, and a cliffhanger. On Sunday night, Peaky was the top Twitter trending topic in the UK where reaction to this season has been overwhelmingly positive.
Season 6 has still not been officially confirmed, although I hear plans are afoot to begin shooting in February next year. Season 5 director Anthony Byrne, who brings a cinematic sheen and, along with Anna Calvi’s score, a punk energy, is expected to return.
Helen McCrory and Paul Anderson also star in Peaky which is produced by Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC One. Executive producers are Caryn Mandabach, Steven Knight, Jamie Glazebrook, David Mason and Cillian Murphy; Patrick Spence for Tiger Aspect; and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC.
Testament to the popularity of this period saga, an official Peaky Blinders festival was held in Birmingham just last weekend and featured Liam Gallagher as surprise musical headliner for the 15,000 attendees.
Netflix will begin airing Season 5 in the U.S. and other international markets where it has rights on October 4. Check out another look at the Netflix trailer below: