Irish stars go gangster for BBC show

Cork heartthrob Cillian Murphy and Love/Hate star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor are set to star in the highly anticipated BBC gangster series Peaky Blinders.

Irish stars go gangster for BBC show

Due to start airing on BBC2 from Sept 12, the series will also star Sam Neill and Skyfall star Helen McCrory.

The six-part series is set in 1919 post-war Birmingham and features returning war veterans, political revolutionaries, and criminal gangs, all battling for a stake in an industrial Birmingham beset with economic problems.

Cillian Murphy plays Thomas Shelby, head of the Shelby family, whose extended list of brothers, sisters, uncles, and cousins make up the most powerful and most feared gang of all, the Peaky Blinders.

The name derives from the gang’s practice of sewing razor blades in the peaks of their caps.

The gang make their money from protection rackets, off-track betting, and robbery.

Speaking about the series, McCrory said the show was “cinematic” in scope.

“What British drama does superbly is rather sad stories of struggling working-class boys coming back from the war — we’re good at looking at the realism. Director Otto Bathurst said we’re going to have realism but this is going to be shot like a Western.”

She added: “These are archetypes, these are heroes, these people don’t see themselves as victims at all, and we’re going to put it with White Stripes, we’re going to put it with Nick Cave, it’s going to look fantastic.

“You’ve never seen anything like it on telly and it’s a new way of defining British period drama.”

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