Peaky Blinders season 5: Secrets from the set

The cast and creators of Peaky Blinders give us some clues about what we can expect as the Brummie gangster drama finds a new home on BBC One.

It's time to strap on our flat caps again because Peaky Blinders is back for a fifth season very soon.

Premiering on Sunday, August 25th at 9pm in its new home - BBC One - the Brummie period drama heads into 1929 and the economic turmoil of the Wall Street Crash

After surviving and outwitting the Italian Mafia in season 4, Tommy Shelby heads into the murky world of politics in season 5 and will face some significant choices for him family, and the country, as he crosses paths with young fascist leader Oswald Mosley (Sam Clafin).

BT TV caught up with the Peaky Blinders cast and creators ahead of the new episodes to look back at the show’s success and look ahead to the latest thrilling season and beyond.

Here are the secrets we are allowed to reveal - by order of the Peaky Blinders.

That incredible new outfit for Polly was Helen McCrory’s idea

Peaky Blinders season 5 - Helen McCrory

That was my design. I really wanted her to wear a suit in one of the scenes. Obviously that isn’t an original idea, Garbo was doing it and there are quite a lot of photos of her! But I really wanted to see Polly in a suit. I only wear it for one scene, but I loved it. I love all the clothes that Alison McCosh, our costume designer creates.

Steven Knight writes every series of Peaky Blinders with a new genre

"The first one was definitely a Western. Two men meet at a bar. A woman gets in between them. You didn’t have to be a cinematic scholar to know that this was a Western," said producer Caryn Mandabach.

"The third season was a European psychological tragedy. He lost his wife, took up with the crazy Russian girl. And the fourth series was the siege. Guns firing, taking the higher ground."

And what is the theme for season 5? "I couldn’t possibly tell you that," laughs Caryn.

[Read more: Peaky Blinders immersive festival launches in Birmingham]

The producers would love to expand the Peaky universe

Peaky Blinders

"The Peaky universe is my favourite place to be," said Mandabach. "I'm still like a big kid when I get a script. Steven has done 30 episodes now. 30 hours. That's 15 movies in a span of eight years. That’s crazy. Who does that? Who has that body of work? So when we get a script, I go wild. I have the same innocent response as if I was 12 and reading Dickens for the first time."

However, the producers aren’t going to insist on spinoffs unless Steve has the desire and ideas.

"It’s a crafted experience. You can’t put a gun to Steve’s head and just say, write this spinoff around this character. We need to talk more about TV as a craft and less as corporate needs."

The incredible soundtrack nearly sounded very different

The hardest part of making Peaky Blinders is paying for it all. Creating such a beautiful series on a limited budget has been tricky and not without problems for the producers.

"When we started, we were told we would have to cover Nick Cave and Jack White, because we couldn't afford the rights" revealed Caryn.

"I had to say, ‘there will be no covering of Nick Cave and Jack White’.

"We didn’t have the money though, so I went to my own purse and wrote the cheque.”

Writer Steven Knight wants a happy ending for Tommy Shelby

Peaky Blinders season 5 - Tommy Shelby

"What he would really like is to go back to the person he was before the war,” said Steven

“Spending time with horses, spending time with nature, having that passion. The war blasted that out of him. What I’m trying to do over the series is try switch that back on for Tommy - even though starting to feel again is painful for him.”

And why does he want a happy ending?

"Because we’re human beings and it would be nice if people were good," he smiles. "I just think it’s a journey from being unfeeling, remote and not able to connect with human beings."

Expect A-list stars in seasons 6 and 7

Tom Hardy in Peaky Blinders

Tom Hardy and Adrien Brody have previously guested in the series and Sam Clafin joins as Oswald Mosley in series 5.

Stephen Graham has been repeatedly linked with the show and with a celebrity fanbase that includes Julia Roberts, Snoop Dogg and David Beckham, there is no shortage of possible surprise arrivals in Small Heath.

"We get a lot of approaches from astonishing A-list actors, but we’ve always tried to make sure it doesn’t become spot the celebrity. I think that would spoil the atmosphere a bit. We tend to get who we want. I can’t remember when we haven’t. Because of Cillian and Helen, they attract people," said Knight,

"What I’m thinking with six and seven is that I’m going to open the doors a little bit more. There are some really good actors and I think if we’re judicious we can get some of those people in the cast.”

Season 5 has some disturbing parallels with Brexit Britain

Peaky Blinders - Sam Clafin as Oswald Mosley

"It's fortunate for me and unfortunate for the world that those years have a great deal in common with what we’re going through now,” said Knight.

"Nationalism, populism, fascism, racism. They were suddenly becoming currency and respectable. Some of the things that were said then, and you’ll see them in the series, they could be out of the newspapers today. Word for word. It’s quite chilling. We all know how it ended.

"The thing was that I didn’t have to force it. I think people will presume that I have made it up, but hopefully people will go and look into it."

[Peaky Blinders star: Politicians are worse than gangsters]

Expect to see a lot more of Finn Shelby

Harry Kirton in Peaky Blinders

The youngest Shelby brother will come to the fore in season 5 and takes over from his deceased sibling John as the hot-headed member of the clan.

"In the two years that have gone by, he’s got scars on the inside and outside.

"Finn does have a heart, but he also he had a fieriness. He has a gentleman in him, but he also has a name to live up to.

"What’s the saying? There is nothing like having sex after war and war after sex. It comes hand in hand. It’s a testerone male thing. He’s enjoying the drugs, snow, the girls, the violence. He's an adult Shelby now. And like any dangerous animal, they are threatening when they are a puppy, but now that it's full grown, it’s a pretty scary beast.

"He definitely isn’t the head lion in the pack, but f*** me you don’t want to get in front of him this series. He lacks street smarts, but he puts himself to the test this series."

The cast aren’t scared of being killed off

Peaky Blinders - Finn Cole as Michael Gray

"People always ask, 'Are you scared of the chop? Are you scared of the scene when you get shot in the head?'” said Finn Cole, who plays Michael Gray.

"And I have to say, 'no'. Because I know when that scene happens, I know it will happen at the perfect time for the character, the story and the show. So in many ways, I'm quite excited for when that day comes."

Ada Shelby will have a new alliance with Tommy and possibly a new lover

Sophie Rundle as Ada Shelby in Peaky Blinders

"Politics has always been her thing and she had to take a step back and move away from it. So for her seeing her older brother move into that world - it’s frustrating," said Sophie Rundle.

"That wasn’t available or an option to her. Watching Tommy do that, she does have an interest in it and she becomes his confidant and ally. Ada is really intelligent, as is Tommy, and that is what bonds them.

And could the sassiest Shelby have a new love interest in series 5?

"I don’t want to give too much away,” she smiles. “But she has her eye on someone.”

Lizzie can't escape her past

Peaky Blinders star Natasha O'Keeffe

"Without giving anything away, there is more with her relationship with Tommy," said Natasha O’Keeffe, who plays the latest lady in Tommy’s life.

"She is one of the Shelbys now. She has a child with Tommy and she’s getting used to being a politician's wife. I think Lizzie is an engine behind Tommy. She’s been loyal and keeps him grounded."

However, it won’t be plain sailing for her in season 5.

"Lizzie knows where she’s come from and she knows in a click she could end up back there," said O’Keeffe.

"She’s not daft. There is a plot in this series, where there is some mindplay, so it does follow her. And she has to deal with it - without giving anything away."

Sophie Rundle added: "They are all trying to run away from their pasts. And they all know, one wrong step from the family and they could be back there."

How to watch Peaky Blinders on BT TV

Peaky Blinders season 5 - Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby

Peaky Blinders season 5 starts on Sunday, August 25th at 9pm on BBC One.

Catch up on Peaky Blinders seasons 1-4 on Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

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Image Credits: BBC/Robert Viglasky / © Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd. 2019

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