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Cillian Murphy initially thought Peaky Blinders music choice was a “terrible idea”

The star wasn't always on board with the use of contemporary music on the period show.

Cillian Murphy (Tommy Shelby) and Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby) in Peaky Blinders | Series 5 (BBC One) | Episode 02

It’s almost impossible to hear Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand these days without thinking of Peaky Blinders, and the show’s use of music in general has been a key part of what’s made it such a success.


But according to Cillian Murphy, he wasn’t always on board with the idea of using contemporary music in the Peaky Blinders soundtrack, with the drama set in the interwar period.

The Tommy Shelby star was appearing as a guest on Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 6 Music programme when he said he initially thought that it would be a “terrible idea”.

“I have to be honest I thought it was a terrible idea when someone told me first that it would be contemporary music against a period story,” he said.

“I didn’t think it would work but then something happened where it just clicked and we always – you know the people that made the show – we always talked about whether a tune is ‘Peaky’ or ‘not Peaky’.”

Throughout its run, the list of Peaky Blinders music has featured tracks by contemporary bands and musicians including IDLES, Arctic Monkeys and Laura Marling, as well as Radiohead and PJ Harvey.

According to Murphy, those involved in the show can tell instantly whether a particular song would work.

“You just seemed to know whether it is and it’s really hard to define what that is but I think it seems to be an outlaw quality to the music… so that’s always been the sort of artists that have worked on the soundtrack and the sort of artists that are attracted to it as well.”

Peaky Blinders season six has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with production on the series not yet having started, so fans could have a wait before they find out the latest developments with the Shelby clan.

In the meantime, fans can listen to Murphy’s new 12-part BBC Radio 6 Music series Cillian Murphy’s Limited Edition, a series of two-hour programmes that will see the actor curate his own nocturnal playlist, made for after midnight.

According to the BBC, the playlist will include genres ranging from afrobeat to electronica, jazz, spoken word and poetry and will feature iconic artists such as Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.


Cillian Murphy’s Limited Edition begins on 6 Music on Monday 19th October at midnight. 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.