Everything you need to know about Peaky Blinders Season 6
No sooner has the dust settled upon – and the mountain of corpses been carted out of – the Peaky Blinders fifth season finale, than it starts all over again. When will it be back? What's happening with Oswald Mosley? How many more times can characters come back as ghosts haunting Tommy Shelby before he gets an exorcism?
Though a release date is still unconfirmed (scroll to the bottom if you want to know exactly when Peaky Blinders is due back on our screens) it is firmly underway. At the start of January 2020, show creator Steven Knight confirmed in an interview that the first stage, at least, was finally done. "I've just finished writing series six and it's the best yet," he told the BBC, "but we always say that."
Knight was speaking after being awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours, for services to drama, entertainment and the community in Birmingham. Though Peaky Blinders is mostly filmed across Yorkshire, Leeds and Liverpool (as Knight explained to Radio 4, "a combination of the Luftwaffe and the local council in the Sixties and Seventies" meant that modern Birmingham is too far from Tommy Shelby's Birmingham to serve as a believable backdrop), the show's creator recently announced plans to launch a £100m TV and film studio there, to support the creative industries in the Midlands. We're just hoping that they don't wait until it's open to start actually shooting season six of Peaky Blinders. We're patient people, but we're not that patient.
When Knight was informed about his CBE in the New Year honours list, he said that he would be celebrating, "Tommy Shelby style." Luckily he was referring to Shelby's predilection for some sparkling, and not his habit of shooting up pubs and attacking people with hats.
In the meantime, Knight and the cast have dropped some juicy details about the production of Peaky Blinders series six, the show's potential upcoming guest stars (and which faces are set to return), as well as some intriguing information about when it's set, which historical events it will explore and how many more seasons it can run for. So even though the next season is still a way off, we do already know the answers to some of Peaky Blinders season six's biggest questions.
What's going to happen in season six?
Steven Knight likes to leave a fairly substantial trail of crumbs behind him ahead of each season, and he's started early with the drip-feeding of season six clues.
"[Season six] is about the rise of fascism, nationalism and racism in the '30s – and there are huge parallels with what's happening in the world now," Knight told the NME. "I wanted to make that a major theme of series five and the next series, because we go on into the '30s."
Could you be a bit more specific, Steven?
"In series six, we'll be looking at 1934 and things are worse," Knight said. "The drum beat is getting louder, tensions are worse and Tommy is right in the middle of all that. Again, it will be an exploration of what was going on in the '30s and how certain things transpired. I’m writing it at the moment, and it is a tragedy."
The arc of Peaky Blinders as a whole shifted fairly recently, too – we were meant to just have the five seasons, but Knight decided it was all going far too well to just stop there.
"We were originally going to end it with this series, but I just thought that there's so many people who are just getting into it now," he told Digital Spy after the end of the fifth and latest season. "It'd be such a shame to stop." Precisely how many more seasons he's got envisaged for Tommy Shelby and his gang is still unclear, but there's still a lot of history to explore, so expect at least a couple more seasons to take us at least
On 26 January we got our first episode title, thanks to Peaky Blinders director Anthony Byrne. He took to Instagram to say that season six was in pre-production and will open with 'Black Day'. Considering every day in the Peaky universe falls somewhere between 'black' and 'very, very dark grey' on the Dulux colour chart, that isn't quite as revealing as you'd hope – but we have some ideas.
Byrne is the first Peaky Blinders director to return for a second shift on the show. He oversaw season five, which itself opened with the episode 'Black Tuesday' (which was closely followed by 'Black Cats').
Which cast members will return?
Details are thin at the moment, but Sam Claflin will return as Mosley alongside all the other regulars. Apart from Aidan Gillen, the pin-cushioned Aberama Gold, of course.
In early November, the MailOnline posted some set photos revealing that – hold on to your hats, guys – Cillian Murphy will return as Tommy Shelby. The shocking news spread like wildfire, until keen-eyed Peaky Blinders fans pointed out that the shots were old, and that season six isn't set to start production until January 2020.
All that being said, we’re happy to stake our reputation on the fact that Tommy Shelby, the main character of Peaky Blinders, will return to Peaky Blinders. As finale cliff-hangers go, Tommy holding a gun to his head in the Cheshire mists was pretty silly and unconvincing.
Much of the filming for the new season will take place in Manchester, according to the Manchester Evening News, with Space Studios serving as the main hub.
Will Mosley return?
After the entirely unpredictable failure of Tommy's short-sighted but Churchill-approved plan to assassinate Mosley with an extremely coked-up old mate who'd been in an asylum for some years, the boss of the Blackshirts will surely be back. If you know your history, you'll be aware that the Battle of Cable Street is on the horizon, too. In 1936, the British Union of Fascists tried to march through the East End of London, an area specifically chosen because it was home to a large Jewish community. Communists and anti-fascists blocked them, though, and after fighting in the street the fascists were beaten. What are the odds that the Shelby gang will be where the violence is?
Season 5 director Anthony Byrne will return to the fold, and he revealed to the Obsessed With Peaky Blinders podcast that Gina and Oswald Mosley will play a major part in the storyline.
"Gina, and whoever her family are, will make themselves known," revealed Byrne. He also said there would be more focus on "Oswald Mosley and some people around him and his world."
What about other historic figures?
In a Reddit AMA, Knight revealed that season six would feature "a figure from history who may surprise people." Just don't bet on it being Al Capone, who according to some fan theories might turn up chasing Michael, after his time in America. "I'm not [planning] on heading West necessarily, but if we come across famous figures who are involved in the businesses Tommy is involved in we will certainly use them."
Then again, Knight might have been talking about a certain somebody who pulled up a pew when Mosley married his second wife Diana Guinness, one of the Mitford sisters. They tied the knot at Joseph Goebbels' Berlin home in 1936. Their guest of honour? Adolf Hitler.
What other big questions need to be settled?
Aside from Mosley, we don't know who or what the 'black cat' of Tommy's dreams is – he reckons it means there's a traitor in the midst of the Shelby clan, and most fans reckon it's either would-be leader of the Shelby company, Michael, or his wife Gina Gray. Plus, it'd be a bit gutting if the Glasgow gang the Billy Boys just disappeared. Do they know where Tommy's dead horse is? Is that even important anymore?
Which guest stars can we expect?
Fans expected guests in season five and they were notably absent. However, Knight told the Guardian that the policy of keeping celebs at arm's length could change in season six.
"We get a lot of people who get in touch and want to take part," he said. "There’s Brad Pitt. Snoop Dogg. A$AP Rocky, too. I think in series six we will open the door a little to get some celebrity actors in. The main thing is they have to be good."
Meanwhile Stephen Graham is bound to make an appearance somewhere down the line, though that may not be in the upcoming season. More surprisingly, Julia Roberts is rumoured to be in the running for a role.
When is Peaky Blinders season six out?
The extremely long-range forecast puts it at early 2021 at the very soonest. Director Anthony Byrne told the Obsessed With Peaky Blinders podcast in September: "I start later this year and then we shoot next year and I have no idea when it would be out, maybe early 2021, something like that?"
Rumours had started circling about filming already having started, but they were shot down by sources on the show. "They’ve not started filming yet," Metro was told in mid-November. "Sorry. It won't be until some point in the new year."