Sam Neill starred in series one and two of Peaky Blinders as sinister Northern Irish detective Major Chester Campbell. But could he be about to make a comeback?
Some fans have theorised that Campbell, who was apparently killed by Polly Gray (Helen McCrory), might actually have survived and could be behind all of Tommy Shelby’s recent misfortunes.
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Speaking to RadioTimes.com about his time on the series, Neill said, “I absolutely love Peaky Blinders. I think Steve [Knight]’s writing is fantastic. I’m the biggest fan of Cillian [Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby] and Helen [McCrory] and Paul [Anderson, Arthur Shelby] – I’m always happy to see them back and I kind of missed them.”
Neill’s character Campbell was shot at close range by Polly at the end of series two, after he’d previously raped her. The murder at Epsom racecourse brought about the end of Neill’s involvement in the series but he remains a fan.
“We were filming in some pretty bleak parts of the world with some pretty bleak material, but for me it was also very rich, it was very complex. I played a pretty horrible character but I loved it!”
Neill’s latest project took him away from acting for a whole year – docu-series Captain Cook’s Pacific with Sam Neill saw the Irish-born New Zealand dweller travelling around the Pacific in the wake of Cook’s famous voyage.
The iconic explorer first laid eyes on New Zealand 250 years ago and filming a modern history of the voyage was worlds apart from doing battle with fictional Birmingham gangsters, Neill explained.
Having filmed Peaky Blinders in locations all around the north of England, including Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool and Keighley, Neill’s latest work has been a stark contrast. Filming took the actor to such exotic locales as Tahiti, Hawaii, Tonga and Alaska.
“You know the street where the Peaky Blinders live? It’s actually in Liverpool,” he said. “That street and the back fences all joined up these seven or eight identical streets. We were in the street right behind the one where Ringo Starr was born. The Council desperately want to pull down these old houses but they would get killed for that by Beatles fans. Those grimy areas are a huge contrast to say… Tahiti.”
Captain Cook’s Pacific with Sam Neill begins on Sunday 29th September at 9pm on History.