When Is 'Peaky Blinders' Season 6 Out? Rumours, Teasers, And Everything You Need To Know

Tom Nicholson, Esquire Editors
Photo credit: BBC

From Esquire

No sooner has the dust settled upon – and the mountain of corpses been carted out of – the Peaky Blinders fifth season finale, than it starts all over again. When will it be back? What's happening with Oswald Mosley? How many more times can characters come back as ghosts haunting Tommy Shelby before he gets an exorcism?

Though a release date is still unconfirmed (scroll to the bottom if you want to know exactly when Peaky Blinders is due back on our screens) production and filming for the new season is firmly underway.

On top of that, we've recently been given a tease of where the season is headed when Peaky Blinders creator and writer Steven Knight suggested that next time around we'll see the Shelbys set on the path to war – and we've put together a handy guide to what to watch while you're waiting for Peaky Blinders to return, you're very welcome – plus little tidbits which keep leaking out of Peaky HQ.

Knight and the cast have dropped some juicy details about the production of Peaky Blinders series six, the show's potential upcoming guest stars (and which faces are set to return), as well as some intriguing information about when it's set, which historical events it will explore and how many more seasons it can run for. So even though the next season is still a way off, we do already know the answers to some of Peaky Blinders season six's biggest questions.

Coronavirus has halted production

On 16 March, the BBC announced that Caryn Mandabach and Tiger Aspect, the production companies which make Peaky Blinders, had stopped work on the series because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A post on the Peaky Blinders official Instagram feed broke the news.

"After much consideration, and in light of the developing situation concerning Covid-19, the start of production of Peaky Blinders series 6 has been postponed," it said. "Huge thanks to our incredible cast and crew, and to all our amazing fans for their continued support."

There was a little more info from the BBC too.

"In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, the producers – Caryn Mandabach Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions – of Peaky Blinders S6 have postponed filming, and World Productions on Line of Duty S6 have suspended filming, both in consultation with and supported by the BBC," a BBC spokesperson said, according to the Guardian.

"We will continue to review all productions on a case-by-case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organization and Public Health England."

We don't know yet how long the shooting hiatus will last, but the it seems likely that the expected autumn transmission of Peaky Blinders season six will be pushed back by a month at least. Given how things are going around the world, it might be even longer than that.

Fortunately, we've put together a big old guide to all the stuff you should watch while you're in coronavirus shutdown waiting out the – now far longer – hiatus between season five and season six, from Boardwalk Empire to Our Friends in the North.

What's going to happen in season six?

Steven Knight likes to leave a trail of crumbs behind him ahead of each season, and he's started early with the drip-feeding of season six clues.

Speaking at the National Television Awards – where Peaky Blinders picked up the Best Drama Series award, and Cillian Murphy won Best Drama Performance – Knight said that the threat of war will colour everything that happens in season six.

After his usual line about season six being "the best yet," Knight said that this will be the point that World War Two starts to loom large on the horizon.

"It's moving the story forward. We always jump in time so we are into the Thirties. Expect the unexpected. Because of the nature of the decade, the Thirties, we know what happened at the end – that war began.

"There are rumblings and rumours of war and that is overshadowing the whole thing. It makes it all the more... the stakes are higher."

He's gone into what exactly that means for the series before now too.

Photo credit: BBC

"[Season six] is about the rise of fascism, nationalism and racism in the Thirties – and there are huge parallels with what's happening in the world now," Knight told the NME. "I wanted to make that a major theme of series five and the next series, because we go on into the Thirties."

Could you be a bit more specific, Steven?

"In series six, we'll be looking at 1934 and things are worse," Knight said. "The drum beat is getting louder, tensions are worse and Tommy is right in the middle of all that. Again, it will be an exploration of what was going on in the '30s and how certain things transpired. I’m writing it at the moment, and it is a tragedy."

Will this be the last season?

The arc of Peaky Blinders as a whole shifted fairly recently – we were meant to just have the five seasons, but Knight decided it was all going far too well to just stop there.

"We were originally going to end it with this series, but I just thought that there's so many people who are just getting into it now," he told Digital Spy after the end of the fifth and latest season. "It'd be such a shame to stop."

We're looking at two more seasons to take us up to the start of World War Two.

Have they started shooting yet?

Yes, both in the sense of At the start of January 2020, show creator Steven Knight confirmed in an interview that the first stage of season six was finally done. "I've just finished writing series six and it's the best yet," he told the BBC, "but we always say that."

Knight was speaking after being awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours, for services to drama, entertainment and the community in Birmingham. Though Peaky Blinders is mostly filmed across Yorkshire, Leeds and Liverpool (as Knight explained to Radio 4, "a combination of the Luftwaffe and the local council in the Sixties and Seventies" meant that modern Birmingham is too far from Tommy Shelby's Birmingham to serve as a believable backdrop), the show's creator recently announced plans to launch a £100m TV and film studio there, to support the creative industries in the Midlands. We're just hoping that they don't wait until it's open to start actually shooting season six of Peaky Blinders. We're patient people, but we're not that patient.

When Knight was informed about his CBE in the New Year honours list, he said that he would be celebrating, "Tommy Shelby style". Luckily he was referring to Shelby's predilection for champagne, and not his habit of shooting up pubs and attacking people with hats.

On 26 January we got our first episode title, thanks to Peaky Blinders director Anthony Byrne. He took to Instagram to say that season six was in pre-production and will open with 'Black Day'. Considering every day in the Peaky universe falls somewhere between 'black' and 'very, very dark grey' on the Dulux colour chart, that isn't quite as revealing as you'd hope – but we've collected our best guesses as to what it's all about here.

Byrne is the first Peaky Blinders director to return for a second shift on the show. He oversaw season five, which itself opened with the episode 'Black Tuesday' (which was closely followed by 'Black Cats').

Where are they shooting?

This time around, it's almost all going to be in Birmingham. As explained above, past seasons have used a lot of stand-ins for interwar Brum and London, chiefly around Leeds and West Yorkshire, Manchester, Bolton, the Wirral and Liverpool – including Admiral Grove, the street where a young Ringo Starr grew up – but season six will shift toward the city itself and the West Midlands.

At least some of the new season will take place in Manchester, according to the Manchester Evening News, with Space Studios serving as the main hub.

Which cast members will return?

Details are thin at the moment, but Sam Claflin will return as Mosley alongside all the other regulars. Apart from Aidan Gillen, the pin-cushioned Aberama Gold, of course.

In early November, the MailOnline posted some set photos revealing that – hold on to your hats, guys – Cillian Murphy will return as Tommy Shelby. The shocking news spread like wildfire, until keen-eyed Peaky Blinders fans pointed out that the shots were old, and that season six isn't set to start production until January 2020.

All that being said, we’re happy to stake our reputation on the fact that Tommy Shelby, the main character of Peaky Blinders, will return to Peaky Blinders. As finale cliff-hangers go, Tommy holding a gun to his head in the Cheshire mists was pretty silly and unconvincing.

One marginal fan theory was that John Shelby – better known as John Boy, Johnny, or Birmingham's One Man Arson Spree – might return from the dead, but actor Joe Cole has poured a small bucket of very mild scorn all over the idea.

"I think it’s hard to come back from that," he told Radio Times. "So I'm not sure!"

He did get gunned down in a hail of bullets so, you know, fair play.


Will Mosley return?

After the entirely unpredictable failure of Tommy's short-sighted but Churchill-approved plan to assassinate Mosley with an extremely coked-up old mate who'd been in an asylum for some years, the boss of the Blackshirts will surely be back. If you know your history, you'll be aware that the Battle of Cable Street is on the horizon, too. In 1936, the British Union of Fascists tried to march through the East End of London, an area specifically chosen because it was home to a large Jewish community. Communists and anti-fascists blocked them, though, and after fighting in the street the fascists were beaten. What are the odds that the Shelby gang will be where the violence is?

Season 5 director Anthony Byrne will return to the fold, and he revealed to the Obsessed With Peaky Blinders podcast that Gina and Oswald Mosley will play a major part in the storyline.

"Gina, and whoever her family are, will make themselves known," revealed Byrne. He also said there would be more focus on "Oswald Mosley and some people around him and his world."

What about other historic figures?

In a Reddit AMA, Knight revealed that season six would feature "a figure from history who may surprise people." Just don't bet on it being Al Capone, who according to some fan theories might turn up chasing Michael, after his time in America. "I'm not [planning] on heading West necessarily, but if we come across famous figures who are involved in the businesses Tommy is involved in we will certainly use them."

Then again, Knight might have been talking about a certain somebody who pulled up a pew when Mosley married his second wife Diana Guinness, one of the Mitford sisters. They tied the knot at Joseph Goebbels' Berlin home in 1936. Their guest of honour? Adolf Hitler.

What other big questions need to be settled?

Aside from Mosley, we don't know who or what the 'black cat' of Tommy's dreams is – he reckons it means there's a traitor in the midst of the Shelby clan, and most fans reckon it's either would-be leader of the Shelby company, Michael, or his wife Gina Gray. Plus, it'd be a bit gutting if the Glasgow gang the Billy Boys just disappeared. Do they know where Tommy's dead horse is? Is that even important anymore?

Which guest stars can we expect?

Fans expected guests in season five and they were notably absent. However, Knight told the Guardian that the policy of keeping celebs at arm's length could change in season six.

"We get a lot of people who get in touch and want to take part," he said. "There’s Brad Pitt. Snoop Dogg. A$AP Rocky, too. I think in series six we will open the door a little to get some celebrity actors in. The main thing is they have to be good."

Most recently we've had Imelda Staunton, who'll be playing the Queen in the final season of The Crown, declaring herself as a huge fan of the show. But will she try to get on the show?

"Oh, do you know, don’t think I didn’t bloody try!" Staunton told the Daily Express. "Peaky Blinder! I want to be a Peaky bloody Blinder! I’d be so mean. I’d be so mean. I’ve got the Irish[ness]. I’ve got the meanness."

But will she turn up? Probably not. "I think it’s all been and gone now," she said.

Meanwhile Stephen Graham is bound to make an appearance somewhere down the line, though that may not be in the upcoming season. More surprisingly, Julia Roberts is rumoured to be in the running for a role.

When is Peaky Blinders season six out?

The extremely long-range forecast puts it at early 2021 at the very soonest. Director Anthony Byrne told the Obsessed With Peaky Blinders podcast in September: "I start later this year and then we shoot next year and I have no idea when it would be out, maybe early 2021, something like that?"

Rumours had started circling about filming already having started, but they were shot down by sources on the show. "They’ve not started filming yet," Metro was told in mid-November. "Sorry. It won't be until some point in the new year."

But then again, that was all before we saw Anthony Byrne's production script, as mentioned up the top, in January. Given that Peaky Blinders is usually an autumn pursuit – the last season started at the beginning of September, and season four arrived in November – it's not out of the question that, with a fair wind, it might return at the same time this year.

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