TV Review: Peaky Blinders Series 6

Series 6 of Peaky Blinders reaches the end with a scorcher, you kinda wish there wasn’t a film (and a ballet, and an immersive show) still to come

“Vengeance is for the Lord
‘Not in Small Heath it ain’t. Rest in peace, Poll'”

In a series beset by the biggest of challenges, Covid delays and the loss of one of its key stars, Helen McCrory who played the inimitable Aunt Poll, Series 6 of Peaky Blinders had no right to be this good. But as it wrapped up the televisual chapter of the gang from Small Heath, it paid stunning tribute to McCrory and Poll alike while telling the revenge epic of all revenge epics.

Wisely acknowledging that a vast array of supporting characters could not all be dealt with substantively, Steven Knight used them sparingly, which may have frustrated some but meant that some stalwarts really got their moment to shine. Sophie Rundle’s Ada is a case in point, on the fringes for much of the time but in the episode where she assumed the head of family, she soared.

Natasha O’Keeffe’s Lizzy also gave powerful work as the penny dropped that being Tommy’s wife and mother/stepmother to his kids still only got her a small part of him. And even if we thought we might have seen more of the likes of newcomers Anya Taylor-Joy and Stephen Graham, they still gave vivid work in this suite of stuningly shot episodes from director Anthony Byrne.

And then there’s Cillian Murphy, extraordinarily good as the increasingly haunted Tommy. Whether fighting against gypsy curses, the IRA, his conscience, fascism, his own body, his unique path took us to the unexpected but also to the profound, as the echoing ring of McCrory’s voice was used to devastating effect to pull us closer to the climactic finish for the Shelbys.

“I’m going to go look at the fog, Tom…”, I’m sure the film will be good but you kinda wish they’d left it there.

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