The fifth season of Peaky Blinders ended on a huge cliffhanger – with the ghostly reappearance of a much-loved character who was killed off in a previous season, and the fate of gangster Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) left hanging in the balance.
The period crime drama has proved to be an international hit for the BBC, with its stellar cast and gripping storylines garnering critical and commercial acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.
So it should come as no surprise that hopes are high for the sixth instalment of the Shelby family’s criminal ventures – and fans of the series have been desperate to find out what happened to Tommy after season five left viewers unsure as to whether or not he had survived.
However, like many TV shows, Peaky Blinders’ filming schedule has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hopefully, with several UK broadcasters, including the BBC, announcing plans to introduce new safety measures whilst filming to dispense of the 2-metre separation rule, Peaky Blinders season six will be on our screens in the near-future.
In the meantime, however, we’re just going to have to wait until the Shelby crime family return to the cobbled streets of Birmingham.
The five previous series of the period crime drama have seen the Shelbys extend their criminal organisation across the country, the deaths of various group members and the rise of fascist leader Oswald Moseley (Sam Claflin).
And Tommy’s first wife Grace may well make another appearance from beyond the grave, after Annabelle Wallis teased that the character “has some unfinished business”.
With lots of questions in need of answering and star Emmett J Scanlan describing next season’s scripts as “so f***ing good”, there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Peaky Blinders’ fifth series.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season, including new character rumours and storyline teasers.
When is Peaky Blinders season 6’s release date?
It had originally been hoped that series six of Peaky Blinders would premiere by the end of the year, given that most previous seasons have landed around that time, but a September air date is now looking highly unlikely.
The new episodes are written and had gone into pre-production prior to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold, but filming had to be postponed in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
However, following the news that several UK broadcasters, including the BBC, are planning to begin filming without adhering to 2-metre separation rule by increasing symptom checks and tests on cast members, hopefully production on Peaky Blinders’ sixth series will start sooner than we thought.
Given the complicated nature of this developing situation, RadioTimes.com predicts season six of Peaky Blinders will arrive in late 2021 at the earliest.
What will happen in Peaky Blinders series 6?
A few details have been released, including the promise of picking up exactly where season five left off – with Tommy Shelby pointing a gun at his own head.
“It picks up directly,” director Anthony Byrne told Digital Spy. “So, the very first image you will see will be back in that field… Tommy, with a gun to his head. Then, we will move on from there, we resolve that amazing moment… it’s great.”
The series five finale certainly left us with many questions.
Chief among them is what will Tommy Shelby do next? Is this the end of his campaign to bring Oswald Mosley down from the inside? What will be the fallout? Will Tommy stand openly against the fascist leader?
Will Finn take responsibility for leaking details of the plan to assassinate Oswald Mosley? What will happen to Billy Grade (Emmett J Scanlan)? What will Arthur do now he’s lost Linda? Is Polly really finished with Shelby Company Ltd, and how will she react to the death of her fiancé Aberama Gold?
Right now, we can only speculate on the answers to these questions, as the plot to series six will be kept tightly under wraps until closer to its premiere.
Director Anthony Byrne has also shut down ongoing fan theories that Mosley is having an affair with Gina, wife to Michael, following a scene showing Mosley having aggressive sex with an unseen woman with tight blonde curls.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Anthony said in no uncertain terms: “No, no, it’s not. I would’ve shown Anya Taylor-Joy, there would have been a reason, it would have been more shocking to see her and know once and for all. But no, I don’t remember her name, she was a really lovely woman who came in and did that scene.”
Further denying the twist, he said: “It definitely wasn’t Anya Taylor Joy and it certainly wasn’t a stand-in for her character. So yeah, no is the answer.”
What we do know is that the Peaky Blinders set has had a revamp, after Byrne revealed the Garrison pub has been redesigned with a new black and gold colour scheme – the significance of which will apparently become clear…
“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,” he teased in a post on the show’s official Instagram feed. “As to the significance and themes that black and gold represent, well… you’ll just have to wait and see.”
How has Peaky Blinders been affected by coronavirus?
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight revealed in December 2019 that scripts for season six were complete and the series entered into pre-production the following month – as confirmed by director Antony Byrne on Instagram.
Things were getting off to a flying start and the new episodes were all set to go in front of cameras in the springtime, but these carefully made plans were soon derailed.
In March 2020, the BBC confirmed that filming on Peaky Blinders had been postponed to an unspecified date, due to the escalating coronavirus crisis.
Writing on Instagram, Byrne said that the cast were “so close” to beginning production on the upcoming series.
“Sets were built, costumes were made. camera and lenses tested. Locations were book. All the prep was done,” he said. “It’s real shame not to be able to make it for you at this time.”
The show’s star Cillian Murphy added: “We will be back as soon as we can, I promise, causing chaos and knocking heads as usual.”
In June, creator Steven Knight revealed that due to scheduling conflicts caused by the unforeseen delay, he has had to make some tweaks to the story of season six – but insists that these are all “for the better.”
Emmett J Scanlan seems to agree, describing the upcoming sixth season as “so f***ing good” in an interview with Digital Spy, assuring fans that it will be worth the wait.
With new social distancing regulations allowing for TV and film production to resume, hopefully the cast and crew will be able to get back to The Garrison as soon as possible.
Who is in the cast for season 6?
Cillian Murphy and creator Steven Knight on the set of Peaky Blinders
Casting has yet to be confirmed for the next season, but you can be sure that Cillian Murphy will return in the role of Tommy Shelby, for which he has received widespread critical acclaim.
The show’s other main cast members are also likely to return, including Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby), Harry Kirton (Finn Shelby) and Sophie Rundle (Ada Thorne).
There’s also the promise of a brand new female character, according to director Anthony Byrne: “There’s a great female character who is new, who is pretty dark. I haven’t seen a character like her in Peaky before.”
“I won’t say who she is,” he told Digital Spy, “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.”
The character is yet to be cast, but he described the mysterious woman as possessing a “dangerous” ideology.
“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.”
Although Tommy’s first wife Grace was murdered during series three, we saw her return in season five to haunt her former husband and she even appeared in the season finale, with Tommy talking to her as he held a gun to his head. Annabelle Wallis, who plays Grace, hinted on Twitter that she may return for season six, writing that Grace “has some unfinished business”.
Speaking at Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Steven Knight was asked a fan asked why he killed off the character Grace (she died at the hands of an Italian assassin).
He said: “The point with Grace as that if she had lived, Tommy would have been happy. He wasn’t meant to be happy.”
Despite Aunt Polly’s resignation from the company, we’d be surprised if Helen McCrory didn’t also reprise her role. In addition, we might expect to see Tommy’s second wife Lizzie Shelby (Natasha O’Keeffe), even though she wasn’t his biggest fan at the end of series five
But has Arthur’s wife Linda Shelby (Kate Phillips) gone for good? And has Gina Gray (Anya Taylor-Joy) persuaded Michael Gray (Finn Cole) to strike out on his own?
Charlie Murphy (trade union leader Jessie Eden), Ned Dennehy (Uncle Charlie), Ian Peck (Curly), Packy Lee (Johnny Dogs) and Benjamin Zephaniah (street preacher Jeremiah Jesus) also seem likely to return in series six.
Sam Claflin may reappear as fascist politician Oswald Mosley, though after the chaos of the series finale, his relationship with Tommy will have changed significantly. And will Brian Gleeson return as Billy Boys leader Jimmy McCavern?
The reappearance of Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) also raises the possibility of a comeback for his character in series six, possibly depending on Hardy’s availability as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand talents.
In terms of guest stars for the upcoming series, Stephen Graham was due to appear on season six, however, due to the coronavirus-caused production delay, it’s uncertain whether he will be able to commit to future filming dates.
Is season 6 the last series of Peaky Blinders?
If all goes to plan, fans can expect a sixth and seventh series of Peaky Blinders – as suggested by writer Steven Knight after the programme won a BAFTA for Best Drama Series.
“My ambition is to make it a story of a family between two wars,” he explained. “So I’ve wanted to end it with the first air raid siren in Birmingham in 1939. It’ll take three more series to reach that point.”
That means series six and seven will need to cover the 1930s all the way up to 1939. But even after series seven, that may not be the last of Peaky Blinders.
Knight previously raised the idea of a World War Two spin-off series, and there have long been rumours of a Peaky Blinders feature film.
Peaky Blinders is available to stream on Netflix. Check out our list of the best movies and TV shows on Netflix for more recommendations, or check out our TV guide if you’re looking for something else to watch.