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) production and filming for the new season was firmly underway before the coronavirus crisis. As things stand, we don't know when everything will start up again.
On top of that, we've recently been given a tease of where the season is headed when Peaky Blinders creator and writer Steven Knight suggested that next time around we'll see the Shelbys set on the path to war – and we've put together a handy guide to what to watch while you're waiting for Peaky Blinders to return, you're very welcome – plus little tidbits which keep leaking out of Peaky HQ.
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.
Paul Anderson says it's "coming fkn soon"
The formerly dead but very much back from the grave Arthur Shelby has reassured fans that everything is actually progressing along the track, however slowly. On Instagram he posted an illustration of Arthur looking suitably grumpy about having been interrupted, plus the suggestion that season six will be "coming soon".
A post shared by Paul Anderson (@boyceyboycey) on Nov 7, 2020 at 5:33pm PST
"Season 6 #comingfknsoon 🖤 thanking you all for the wait, it will will be worth it," to be exact. But what exactly does 'soon' mean? We do know that production is moving forward but there are yet to be any shots from on set, and given how Insta-happy director Anthony Byrne can be, we'd probably know about it if and when it had happened.
There might be more clues to be had in the three emojis Anderson dropped after the main caption: the hundred symbol, the praying hands, and the panda. Maybe the hundred is to project some sense of confidence in the quality of the new series. The praying hands might be about the hopes for actually getting to the end of shooting without having to shelve everything again. The panda, fairy clearly, signals Arthur's character arc over season six: he'll be cuddly, possibly a little harder to find, and, despite concerted efforts, frustratingly impotent.
Well, look, we don't have a lot to go on. But it's coming! And it's coming fkn soon!! Keep an eye out for filming updates after the second lockdown has been relaxed, most likely in January 2021.
But maybe not that fkn soon. Don't get your hopes up for any Peaky Blinders for another 12 months
Byrne's stamped all over the faint remaining hopes that the original release schedule might pick back up. While some productions had started filming again with social distancing in place – mainly big films like Mission: Impossible 7 – Byrne says that he's looking at working "with a view to start shooting early next year" instead.
"That feels achievable," he told Digital Spy. "Whether that’s true or not, I have no idea. If we did start shooting in January  we wouldn’t finish until May or June and then it’s another six months of editing."
Doubtless you'll already have sussed that that would mean Peaky Blinders being back on screens in early 2022 at the earliest. That would mean a gap of nearly two and a half years between the start of season five and the start of season six. Yikes.
But might that actually be a good thing, in the end? We think it might be, actually. Read a bit more about that here.
Everyone's very excited about the scripts, and shooting could restart in January
"I’ve read the whole series penned beautifully by Stephen Knight, who’s a genius," Emmett J Scanlan, who's going to play new character Billy Grade, told the Express. Scanlan went on to speculate that filming, which was stopped by the coronavirus outbreak, could restart again in January or February 2021.
Director Anthony Byrne is particularly excited about a sequence which will open the new season.
"Steve hasn't written anything like that in previous seasons or any of his other works, so that's a sequence we're really exited about filming," Byrne told the Sun. "It took us a long time to find the location and to put it together."
"I checked my emails and I'd just got season six episode one from Steve and I was like 'Shit, do you want to know what happens?' Because I didn't know, you have to cut what you have. Paul was laid out on the couch and I ended up reading it out loud."
'Red Right Hand' might not return
"I just personally felt it was being overused and I think if you overuse anything it loses its power," Byrne told the Express. "I felt it had been firmly established, its association with the show is cemented it’s not going anywhere and I used it once at the opening for episode one."
For Byrne, it was season four and the slew of cover versions which pushed the song's usefulness to its limit.
"So it just felt it had been diluted and it had been overused. I took it back to the Nick Cave version to open the season but I wanted to strike out in a different direction musically and I wanted to establish a different kind of musical language."
Which all makes it sound like we're more likely to hear more original music in the vein of Anna Calvi's score from season five when Peaky Blinders returns.
Things might get a lot more supernatural
Ghosts and characters returning from the grave are very much par for the course in the Peaky-verse, and Steven Knight has said that you can expect a fair bit more wibbly-woo from the sixth season.
"I like the supernatural element," Knight told the official Peaky Blinders website. "Is Tommy cursed? In other words, is everything predestined, are lives already mapped out? Do you have free will or not?
"Tommy sometimes feels that he doesn't because it seems that everything is destined to stop him or move him in a particular direction. It's the same with the whole family.
"I explore that more in the next series."
Tommy will come up against a new fascist foe
Having failed to bump off Mosley with his – let's be honest – pretty hare-brained scheme involving a psychologically unstable and cocaine-addled sharpshooter, director Anthony Byrne says that a new female character will double Tommy's fascism-fighting burden.
"There's a great female character who is new, who is pretty dark," Byrne told Digital Spy. "I haven't seen a character like her in Peaky before. I won't say who she is, but she certainly gives Tommy a run for his money. She challenges him in a different way basically. She's certainly not a protagonist and I don't know if she's an antagonist.
"It's similar to [Oswald] Mosley… she has a similar ideology, and that's challenging for any character, like I've said before… he or she, they don't have guns or a gang, but they have an ideology that's like a virus and it's more dangerous than anything. She's a great character and we're really close to casting her, as well."
Some have speculated that this character will be Mosley's second wife Diana Guinness (née Mitford), and that we'll see them get married. They tied the knot in October 1936 in Berlin, at the home of Josef Goebbels. The guest of honour that day was Adolf Hitler.
It's going to pick up where that S5 cliffhanger left off
Byrne also said that the final frame of season five, which saw Tommy screaming and putting a gun to his head in a misty field, will be the frame that we're greeted with in the first episode of season six.
"Yeah, it picks up directly [from season five], the very first image you will see will be back in that field, with Tommy with a gun to his head and then we will move on from there and resolve that amazing moment," Byrne said.
Some fans had been concerned that Tommy had shot himself, but all this does point to him being very much alive. Which, you know, was sort of the only option. You can't just get rid of him.
Keep your eye on a new official website
It's not been up and running long, and coronavirus has presumably stymied its full roll-out a bit, but peakyblinders.tv launched a couple of months back and looks like it'll be more than just a place where you can get official merch from. The two audio stories read by Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy which turned up last October are there, and suggest it's going to be full of behind-the-scenes and extra content once everything kicks off properly.
There might very well be some more unlikely returns from the grave
Very few main players in the Peaky-verse stay properly dead for very long, especially if they're played by Tom Hardy. Steven Knight revealed a few more characters he felt he'd been rash in killing off during our watchalong of the final episode of season five with him too. Incidentally, if you've not watched along with our Steven Knight watchalong yet, it's definitely worth your time.
Over the course of the watchalong, Knight mentioned a few characters he wishes he hadn't killed off, and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that they might just make a comeback in some form or another. Aiden Gillen's Aberama Gold was one.
"I should have kept [Aberama] alive, I could have just wounded him," Knight mourned. He wasn't the only regret, though.
"There’s him playing Barney Thompson (Cosmo Jarvis) who’s just brilliant, and I really wish I’d kept him alive now because he’s such a good actor."
Another – who's very definitely dead and won't be jumping out of the grave any time soon – was Major Campbell, played by Sam Neill.
"I thought we'd got to the end of that duel between Tommy and Campbell and I was writing episode six of that series and I thought ‘I can’t just send the script to Sam Neill'.
"So, I phoned him up explained and he just said, 'I don't want to die', so I said 'OK, I'll think about it' and did think about it and then a week later said 'I think we’ve got to to do this' and he was fantastic about it.
"But it’s a funny position where you create these people and then you have to kill them and it’s not nice."
It takes a heart of stone to hear Sam Neill say "I don't want to die" and shrug your shoulders before pulling the metaphorical lever to send him through the metaphorical hangman's trapdoor. Who'll care for his ducks?
You can help support the NHS with Peaky Blinders merch
Another way to support our NHS health workers – a webstore takeover for exclusive #PeakyBlinders t-shirts, with all profits going to NHS Charities Together. Buy now and support our heroes – By Order of the Peaky Blinders. Link in bio
A post shared by Peaky Blinders (@peakyblindersofficial) on Apr 15, 2020 at 10:12am PDT
The Peaky Blinders webstore's got a couple of exclusive t-shirt designs on at the moment which will give money to NHS Charities Together. They're only £15 too. Click here to have a look.
The colours black and gold are going to be important in season six
A note from our director @antobyrne75: Hello to all you Peaky’s out there. As all the pubs are shut and you are all hopefully staying at home and washing your hands. I wanted to share something with you all. Here is a sneak peek at the new Garrison pub. I want to point out that it was almost finished and is lit in these images by work lights and not by our amazing cinematographer, Mathieu Plainfosse. This is the back bar of the Garrison Pub. I didn’t want to change the front bar too much for story reasons that I can’t go in to, but I wanted to change the back bar and in discussions with Nicole Northridge, our amazing Production Designer who I worked with on S5, we wanted to make it very dark and use black and gold in the colour scheme. Black and Gold are two colours that run thematically through S6 and I wanted to layer them anywhere I could that made sense to the locations or the characters who would be in those locations. As to the significance and themes that black and gold represent, well… you’ll just have to wait and see. But I was really happy with the way the set looked at this point and we spent a lot of time on the wallpaper, the embossed filigree and getting the right tone of the gold and the black. Tell us all what you think. Stay safe and healthy. By order of...
A post shared by Peaky Blinders (@peakyblindersofficial) on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:06am PDT
Director Anthony Byrne posted on Instagram that the back bar of the Garrison Pub will be undergoing some minor renovations ahead of the next season.
"I didn’t want to change the front bar too much for story reasons that I can’t go in to, but I wanted to change the back bar and in discussions with Nicole Northridge, our amazing Production Designer who I worked with on S5, we wanted to make it very dark and use black and gold in the colour scheme.
"Black and Gold are two colours that run thematically through S6 and I wanted to layer them anywhere I could that made sense to the locations or the characters who would be in those locations. As to the significance and themes that black and gold represent, well… you’ll just have to wait and see. But I was really happy with the way the set looked at this point and we spent a lot of time on the wallpaper, the embossed filigree and getting the right tone of the gold and the black."
What does he mean? No idea. Maybe Sam Sparro's in for a cameo.
Coronavirus has halted production
On 16 March, the BBC announced that Caryn Mandabach and Tiger Aspect, the production companies which make Peaky Blinders, had stopped work on the series because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A post on the Peaky Blinders official Instagram feed broke the news.
A post shared by Peaky Blinders (@peakyblindersofficial) on Mar 16, 2020 at 5:21am PDT
"After much consideration, and in light of the developing situation concerning Covid-19, the start of production of Peaky Blinders series 6 has been postponed," it said. "Huge thanks to our incredible cast and crew, and to all our amazing fans for their continued support."
Director Anthony Byrne added his own commiserations and came up with some nuggets of wisdom.
We were so close to the start of filming Season 6. Months of hard work by our very talented, dedicated and hardworking crew. Sets were built, costumes were made. Cameras and lenses tested. Locations were booked. All the prep was done. It’s a real shame not to be able to make it for you at this time. But I personally want to thank the crew that I’ve spent months working with and I want to send my love and support to them and everyone else. We are in this together. . . These are extraordinary times and we must be extraordinary in them. . . Remember who we all are as a people and look out for those around you who will find these times challenging. Dig deep. It will pass. . . Read that book that’s been staring at you for years. Write a poem, script, novel. Listen to music. Watch movies. Be creative. Make art. Share. Find the positive in all of this and use it. We will be better for it in the long run. Stay safe and healthy. Support the amazing people who are keeping the @nhsmillion going. Look after those around you and reach out to people. . Love & Respect to you all - A. . . @peakyblindersofficial #peakyblinders @ofycm #peakyblindersquotes #peaky #peakyblinder #peakyblindersofficial #peakyfuckingblinders @peakyblindersitalia @peakyblindersfrc #peakyblindersseason5 @bbciplayer @netflixuk #byorderofthepeakyblinders #tommyshelby #cillianmurphy @ofycm #arthurshelby #wecandothistogether #globalawakening #socialdistancing #staystrong #makeart #mentalhealth
A post shared by Anthony Byrne (@antobyrne75) on Mar 18, 2020 at 6:12am PDT
"We were so close to the start of filming Season 6. Months of hard work by our very talented, dedicated and hardworking crew. Sets were built, costumes were made. Cameras and lenses tested. Locations were booked. All the prep was done. It’s a real shame not to be able to make it for you at this time. But I personally want to thank the crew that I’ve spent months working with and I want to send my love and support to them and everyone else. We are in this together.
"These are extraordinary times and we must be extraordinary in them.
"Remember who we all are as a people and look out for those around you who will find these times challenging. Dig deep. It will pass.
"Read that book that’s been staring at you for years. Write a poem, script, novel. Listen to music. Watch movies. Be creative. Make art. Share. Find the positive in all of this and use it. We will be better for it in the long run. Stay safe and healthy. Support the amazing people who are keeping the @nhsmillion going. Look after those around you and reach out to people.
"Love & Respect to you all - A."
There was a little more info from the BBC too.
"In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, the producers – Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions – of Peaky Blinders S6 have postponed filming, and World Productions on Line of Duty S6 have suspended filming, both in consultation with and supported by the BBC," a BBC spokesperson said, according to the Guardian.
"We will continue to review all productions on a case-by-case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organization and Public Health England."
We don't know yet how long the shooting hiatus will last, but the it seems likely that the expected autumn transmission of Peaky Blinders season six will be pushed back by a couple of months at least. Given how things are going around the world, it might be even longer than that.
Fortunately, we've put together a big old guide to all the stuff you should watch while you're in coronavirus shutdown waiting out the – now far longer – hiatus between season five and season six, from Boardwalk Empire to Our Friends in the North.
What's going to happen in season six?
Steven Knight likes to leave a trail of crumbs behind him ahead of each season, and he's started early with the drip-feeding of season six clues.
Speaking at the National Television Awards – where Peaky Blinders picked up the Best Drama Series award, and Cillian Murphy won Best Drama Performance – Knight said that the threat of war will colour everything that happens in season six.
After his usual line about season six being "the best yet," Knight said that this will be the point that World War Two starts to loom large on the horizon.
"It's moving the story forward. We always jump in time so we are into the Thirties. Expect the unexpected. Because of the nature of the decade, the Thirties, we know what happened at the end – that war began.
"There are rumblings and rumours of war and that is overshadowing the whole thing. It makes it all the more... the stakes are higher."
He's gone into what exactly that means for the series before now too.
"[Season six] is about the rise of fascism, nationalism and racism in the Thirties – 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 Thirties."
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."
Will this be the last season?
The arc of Peaky Blinders as a whole shifted fairly recently – 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."
We're looking at two more seasons to take us up to the start of World War Two.
Have they started shooting yet?
Yes, both in the sense of At the start of January 2020, show creator Steven Knight confirmed in an interview that the first stage of season six 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 champagne, and not his habit of shooting up pubs and attacking people with hats.
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've collected our best guesses as to what it's all about here.
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').
We are in pre-production on Season 6. More to come. By Order of... . . . . @peakyblindersofficial #peakyblinders #peaky #peakyblindersedit #peakyblinder #peakyblindersseason5 #peakyblindersseason6 #peakyblindersseason6waiting #peaky_blinders @ofycm @finn_cole @anyataylorjoy @boyceyboycey #arthurshelby #paulanderson @kate_phillipsss @charlenemckenna @scandalous_13 @annacalvi #helenmccrory @_porvata_ #pollygray #tomhardy #alfiesolomons #cillianmurphy #tommyshelby #byorderofthepeakyblinders #peakyblindersseason6
A post shared by Anthony Byrne (@antobyrne75) on Jan 26, 2020 at 3:19am PST
Where are they shooting?
This time around, it's almost all going to be in Birmingham. As explained above, past seasons have used a lot of stand-ins for interwar Brum and London, chiefly around Leeds and West Yorkshire, Manchester, Bolton, the Wirral and Liverpool – including Admiral Grove, the street where a young Ringo Starr grew up – but season six will shift toward the city itself and the West Midlands.
At least some of the new season will take place in Manchester, according to the Manchester Evening News, with Space Studios serving as the main hub.
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.
One marginal fan theory was that John Shelby – better known as John Boy, Johnny, or Birmingham's One Man Arson Spree – might return from the dead, but actor Joe Cole has poured a small bucket of very mild scorn all over the idea.
"I think it’s hard to come back from that," he told Radio Times. "So I'm not sure!"
He did get gunned down in a hail of bullets so, you know, fair play.
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."
Most recently we've had Imelda Staunton, who'll be playing the Queen in the final season of The Crown, declaring herself as a huge fan of the show. But will she try to get on the show?
"Oh, do you know, don’t think I didn’t bloody try!" Staunton told the Daily Express. "Peaky Blinder! I want to be a Peaky bloody Blinder! I’d be so mean. I’d be so mean. I’ve got the Irish[ness]. I’ve got the meanness."
But will she turn up? Probably not. "I think it’s all been and gone now," she said.
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 originally put 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?"
But then again, that was all before we saw Anthony Byrne's production script, as mentioned up the top, in January. Given that Peaky Blinders is usually an autumn pursuit – the last season started at the beginning of September, and season four arrived in November – it wasn't not out of the question that, with a fair wind, it might return at the same time this year.
However, the coronavirus has knocked that back even further. Filming was halted in March and has yet to start up again, but director Anthony Byrne anticipates it being early 2022 before Peaky Blinders returns to screens.
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