Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight discusses upcoming project A Christmas Carol in drama masterclass

Steven Knight (right) (Credit: Teresa Bogan)

The early December event – organised by BBC Birmingham in partnership with RTS Midlands – celebrated the writer’s latest project, a three-part adaptation of A Christmas Carol, a highlight of BBC One’s festive schedule.

The Dickens classic has been adapted countless times, which is why Knight said he undertook a detailed study of the original text in search of a fresh take on a familiar story.

Our friend in the Midlands: Caren Davies on the ambition and heart of Birmingham

Caren Davies (Credit: RTS Midlands)

Over recent weeks, many column inches have been written concerning the success of the Birmingham-inspired TV series Peaky Blinders.

Its move from BBC Two to BBC One has been seamless. More people watch it in the Midlands than anywhere else in the country.

Peakys has undoubtedly put Birmingham firmly back on the national and global map, but the city’s reputation struggles to shake off some outdated prejudices.

Steven Knight on his childhood glimpse at the Peaky Blinders world to working with Brad Pitt

Steven Knight (Credit: Tiger Aspect)

The screenwriter about to become a studio mogul; the boardgame inventor whose next drama will launch Apple’s foray into television; the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? creator nominated for an Oscar – there are many ways to paraphrase the extraordinary career of Steven Knight. Let’s start, however, with the blacksmith’s son who launched a million haircuts.

Steven Knight to adapt SAS: Rogue Heroes

Steven Knight (Credit: BBC)

The six-part series of the same name will delve into the origins of the world’s most esteemed Special Forces unit, the Special Air Services.

Set during the darkest days of the Second World War, a maverick military group revolutionise a new form of warfare in the deserts of North Africa.

Operating as small squads of parachute trained soldiers, the troops deploy behind enemy lines for reconnaissance missions, to raid supply lines, attack reinforcement routes and sabotage enemy aircraft weaponry to help the war effort.

First trailer released for Peaky Blinders series five

Peaky Blinders (Credit: BBC)

Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) is now MP for Birmingham South following the defeat of the Italian Changretta family at the end of season four.  

Series five sees the world thrown into turmoil by the 1929 financial crash and the rise of fascism in Birmingham and beyond.

Life for Shelby and his family is far from smooth sailing, as Shelby’s mental state starts to deteriorate further and he enters the murky waters of politics.

Ticket to timetravel: How Timewasters became a comedy hit

Samson Kayo (Horace), Kadiff Kirwan (Jason), Daniel Lawrence Taylor (Nick) and Adelayo Adedayo (Lauren) in Timewasters (Credit: ITV)

Timewasters has charmed critics and attracted healthy audiences with its mix of jazz, time travel and good jokes. Notably, it also has an all-black leading cast but, according to its creator, Daniel Lawrence Taylor, it is, “first and foremost”, a comedy.

Our Friend in the Midlands: Guz Khan on regional representation

Guz Khan

The West Midlands is my home and I bloody love it. So why do I barely see it on the big old telly? Don’t get me wrong, I know everyone from the Spaghetti Junction to Bolivia loves Peaky Blinders – it’s a great show – but it hardly feels like it’s created here.

I enjoy some gangster shizz set in my neck of the woods as much as the next former criminal but, as soon as some of the characters open their mouths, I’m hearing accents that sound like a Welsh guy who has spent considerable time in Berlin, not Small Heath.

Sam Claflin and Anya Taylor-Joy join Peaky Blinders

Sam Claflin, Anya Taylor-Joy and Brian Gleeson (Credit: BBC)

Series five, which began filming in Manchester last month, sees the devastating effects of the 1929 financial crash. Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, is now a Labour MP and takes on the responsibility of not just his family, but the electorate as well.

Other new cast members to debut in the Bafta award-winning drama are Brian Gleeson, Elliot Cowan, Charlene McKenna, Andrew Koji, Daryl McCormack, Kate Dickie and Emmet J Scanlan.

Jack Rowan: I hit the jackpot with Peaky Blinders

Yet playing a villain in his first leading role was perfect for the 21-year-old newcomer. “I love it because it’s so far removed from who you really are,” he tells the RTS.

His chilling portrayal of teenage psychopath Sam Woodford secured Rowan a nomination for an acting award at this year's RTS Programme Awards alongside “two kings” Stephen Graham and Sean Bean.

“Even to be in the same sentence [as them] is beyond me, I’m just kind of pinching myself.”