Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole explains why he left the show

The actor is set to star in upcoming Sky Atlantic drama Gangs of London

Joe Cole in Peaky Blinders

Former Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole has spoken out about why he chose to leave the Birmingham-set gangster drama in 2017.

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The actor, who is set to star in Sky Atlantic’s upcoming Gangs of London, claims that he departed the beloved BBC One show so that he could pursue “new avenues and new characters and new stories.”

Speaking to Metro, Cole said, “With Peaky Blinders I never really got out of the gates in that role. It’s Cillian’s show really.”

He continued that Gangs of London was more of an ensemble piece – giving him more of a chance to shine.

“For me it’s really an opportunity to show what I can do and for the rest of the cast, what they can do,” he said.

Cole added that he was initially tentative when he was first approached about Gangs of London – claiming that his original reaction on seeing the title was to say no.

However, after reading the scripts for the show – which was created by acclaimed The Raid director Gareth Evans – he realised that the opportunity would be too good to refuse.

He said, “I read the first episode and a synopsis and I was like, ‘This could be something special'” adding, “I’ve spent the last few years turning down gang related shows because when a show does well you get offered quite a lot of them.”

Cole played John Shelby, the younger brother of Tommy (Cillian Murphy) and Arthur (Paul Anderson), in the first three series of Peaky Blinders, before he was killed off in dramatic circumstances at the start of series 4.

In the time since he left the show, he has starred in Channel 4 comedy drama Pure and Black Mirror episode Hang the DJ, while he was awarded a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor his role in boxing film A Prayer Before Dawn.

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All episodes of Gangs of London will be on Sky Atlantic on 23rd April and will also be available to stream on NOW TV. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.