Steve Buscemi continues to lord over his “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO, but in the UK, Cillian Murphy has been heading up a period gang drama of his own. He’s the star of “Peaky Blinders,” a BBC Two series set in Birmingham just after World War I, where Tommy Shelby (Murphy) leads the (real-life) gang of the title, an organization that got its name from the members’ habit of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps as handy weapons.
“Peaky Blinders” (and yes, it’s an incomprehensible title) wrapped its first six-episode season earlier this month, and the BBC has just announced the series has been renewed for a second round of six hourlong episodes.
Creator and writer Steven Knight (who wrote the contemporary gang-themed “Eastern Promises”), said in the announcement that “I am so pleased we will be able to continue to tell this story of a working class family living through extraordinary times in an extraordinary way. The ‘Peaky Blinders’ will march on to many surprising places and fight astonishing battles as the 1920s begin to roar.”
The first season co-starred Sam Neill, Helen McCrory, Annabelle Wallis and Iddo Goldberg, and the second will see the Shelby family expand their empire. The series has yet to secure a US network, though with a premise of 1920s criminal violence, a solid pedigree and a full-on movie star in the lead role — Murphy’s first since he acted in the 2001 BBC miniseries “The Way We Live Now” — it seems inevitable that an announcement that it’s been picked up for broadcast in the States isn’t on its way. BBC America? PBS? Sundance Channel?