Peaky Blinders season 6 premiere draws record viewing figures

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 11/02/2022 - Programme Name: Peaky Blinders VI - TX: n/a - Episode: Ep 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Tommy Shelby (CILLIAN MURPHY) - (C) Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd. - Photographer: Matt Squire
Cillian Murphy returned as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders (BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd./Matt Squire)

The Peaky Blinders season 6 premiere drew record viewing figures for the show with 3.8 million people tuning in on Sunday night.

The hit BBC crime drama, which stars Cillian Murphy, Stephen Graham and Paul Anderson, equaled its best ever showing with the season 5 finale.

Going up against the last episode of ITV's thriller Trigger Point, the Shelby clan stole a 21% share in the audience though the show fronted by Vicky McClure was watched by more people overall.

The season 6 premiere is also the first episode of the show since the death of regular cast member Helen McCrory who played Shelby matriarch, Polly.

Read more: Peaky Blinders movie will 'move the story on in a different way'

McCrory died of cancer at age 52 last April while in production on season 6. Series creator Steven Knight wrote her death into the storyline with Polly revealed to have died between seasons during a failed attempt to assassinate fascist leader Oswald Mosley.

Peaky Blinders mural of the character Thomas Shelby played by actor Cillian Murphy promoting the final series of the popular BBC drama by street artist Akse P19 in Digbeth on 23rd February 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Peaky Blinders is a British crime drama television series created by Steven Knight, that premiered on BBC Two on 12 September 2013. The series is primarily set in Birmingham, England, and follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the aftermath of World War I. Akse P-19 is an artist known for his photo-realistic portraits. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Peaky Blinders mural of the character Thomas Shelby. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

The episode was dedicated to her memory with a tribute appearing on screen saying “Dedicated to the memory of Helen McCrory OBE ‘Polly Gray’."

Peaky Blinders originally began airing on BBC Two in 2013 before moving to BBC One in 2019 for its fifth season after growing a huge fanbase and becoming a pop culture reference point across the UK.

Before moving to the BBC's flagship channel, the show won the BAFTA for Best Drama for its fourth season and has received critical acclaim throughout its run.

McCrory and Adrien Brody (Credit: BBC)
McCrory and Adrien Brody in Peaky Blinders (BBC)

Season 6 has been confirmed as the show's last but Knight has also stated that there will be a spin-off film featuring the same cast.

Across its six seasons, Peaky Blinders has featured an ensemble cast including names such as Adrien Brody, Tom Hardy and Aidan Gillen.

Season 6 sees the addition of Graham to the cast as well as Strike star Amber Anderson as Diana Mosley, the wife of Oswald.

Watch below: Peaky Blinders: what to expect from season 6