I must confess, I was annoyed when Peaky Blinders was first announced by the BBC. Sure, it sounded interesting, but the problem was that I was a huge fan of The Hour. The Hour wasn’t doing as well as was hoped, so rather than completing the story with a much-anticipated third season, the Beeb cut their losses and invested the money in their new celebrity cast prestige show.

Created by Steven Knight and set in Birmingham, it follows the exploits of the Peaky Blinders crime gang in the direct aftermath of the First World War. The fictional gang is loosely based on a real urban youth gang of the same name who were active in the city from the 1880s to the 1910s. Season one starred Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory and Annabelle Wallis, and once I got over my pique, even I was forced to admit that this was a fantastic show. Maybe… maybe… even better than The Hour.

Since then, the show has spawned six seasons, a recurring guest role for Tom Hardy, guest appearances by Adrien Brody and Anya Taylor-Joy among many others, and two narrative video games.

“It hardly seems believable that it’s ten years since Tommy Shelby first rode that black horse through the streets of Birmingham. The phenomenal global success of the show is down to the brilliance and hard work of the loyal team that makes it happen. Ten years on and the story is not yet over. Watch this space.”

Stephen Knight

Of course this post wouldn’t be complete with a look at the script, but sadly only the screenplay for the first episode is available. Obviously the gatekeepers’ rules of screenwriting don’t apply to a creator of Knight’s stature, so he can get away with this introduction to his enduring lead character:

After a few moments, a man riding a beautiful black horse trots into the courtyard. The horse’s hooves click on the cobbles.

Instantly, all talking and laughter stops. Whispered word goes around the children and mothers like wildfire. All games are frozen. Washing is left in baskets. Mothers turn to the crowds of children to summon their own.

We study the man who has produced such instant terror as he rides into the courtyard. He is immaculately dressed in a dark suit (odd for a man riding a horse) and his boots are polished. He is mid-thirties, handsome and well groomed.

On his head he wears a Stetson Hatteras cap angled steeply over his forehead, with generous folds of cloth hanging over his ears. The peak puts his dark eyes in shadow.

This man is THOMAS Shelby.