Peaky Blinders’ season six premiere picks up exactly where you want it to. Back in that field, at that moment, with that gun pointed at Tommy Shelby’s temple.

We can’t go into exactly what happens in those following moments with Cillian Murphy’s tortured gangster without spoiling the conclusion of a cliffhanger that’s had many fans speculating wildly about the identity of the ‘Black Cat’ betrayer since season five wrapped up in 2019.

But we can say it’s dealt with swiftly, perhaps without any major surprises that eagle-eyed fans wouldn’t have seen coming. To the show’s credit, it’s soon steaming forwards along the tracks to season six’s main plot, and of course, that movie finale.

There is one question that has loomed much larger over the show than ‘Who betrayed Tommy Shelby?’ and that is how the BBC One hit would address the absence of the Shelby family’s matriarch, Polly Gray, following the untimely death of Helen McCrory before filmed recommenced.

The actress was always at the centre of the show, while Polly was the maternal heart beating within the Shelby family, and the first episode is rightly dedicated to her memory.

Speaking about the loss of Helen ahead of making the season, Cillian Murphy told Empire she’s “very present” in the show. “It’s a huge loss; it’s hard to comprehend it. Because she was the matriarch of the whole thing. As the character, but just also as her personality.”

As Steven Knight confirmed, the opener unsurprisingly continues the Peaky tradition of leaping-frogging to significant anchor points in history, with this one taking us to December 5, 1933 on the final day of prohibition. The Shelbys are still doggedly chasing an export route for the opium the gang secured in season five from Brilliant Chang.

Some things have changed in those four intervening years – and not just that Michael has a solid ‘tache – yet some things definitely haven’t changed, as Arthur is far from sober and Lizzie and Ada are still dumped with the kids.

The show is dark, both literally and figuratively. Tommy stalks through shadowy corridors and looms ominously while weaving his cunning plans, but following the hallucinations of Grace last time around, he still contemplates death constantly.

His mother’s suicide weighs heavily on him since Charlie revealed it in season five, leaving Tommy in a macabre mental state. Lizzie even references his dead voice – although we’d say that’s not quite a new thing, Liz.

Almost everyone gets a look in throughout the premiere, although Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson) is used fleetingly and is a bit one-note, with the character having regressed from the faux-businessman and tortured soul since the last time we saw him, however, there’s surely much more to come from him this season.

There is also the notable absence of Sam Claflin’s Sir Oswald Mosley, or a feeling of how involved Tommy is in politics nowadays. But given the actor is confirmed to return, and what we saw in the season six trailer, it surely won’t be long before we’re entangled back in his conniving ways.

The big storyline circulates around Gina Gray’s family this season and follows on from Michael’s attempted coup in the season five finale. Anya Taylor-Joy brings a vicious brilliance as Michael’s power-hungry wife and even more star-quality to a show packed with a galaxy of them, with the actress riding high from even more massive projects than when she joined the show in 2019.

But it’s surely the teaser hints towards a certain Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons, and newcomer Stephen Graham in Liverpool that will have fans most excited. Along with one or two inevitable blasts from the past.

Either way, it feels right to have the Peaky Blinders back in business, and while this may be the final TV series, with the planned movie, potential spin-offs and even a ballet, business is definitely still booming.

Peaky Blinders season six will air on BBC One on Sunday, February 27.


By Ivaylo Angelov

Ivaylo Angelov born in Bulgaria, Varna graduated School Geo Milev is Tvserieswelove's Soaps Editor and oversees all of the section's news, features, spoilers and interviews.