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Peaky Blinders: Stars hit the red carpet in Birmingham for season five premiere - with pictures

By Dayna Farrington | Entertainment | Published:

Flat caps and flapper dresses were mixed with the glitz and glamour, as the stars of Peaky Blinders descended on Birmingham for the series five premiere.

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, (left-right) Caryn Mandabach, Steven Knight, Helen McCrory and Finn Cole

Cast of the BBC show including Helen McCrory, Sophie Rundle, Finn Cole and Packy Lee took to the red carpet outside the city's Town Hall on Thursday night.

Joined by writer and creator Steven Knight and series five director Anthony Byrne met fans, before an exclusive screening of the first episode of the season and taking part in a question and answer session.

Cillian Murphy and Paul Anderson, who play Tommy and Arthur Shelby respectively, were not present at the premiere due to prior commitments.

Take a look at our bumper gallery from the star-studded event:

Series writer and creator, Mr Knight, revealed at the premiere that much of season six and seven of the hit show will be filmed in Birmingham.

"It is so great to be in Birmingham – the whole series is about the history of Birmingham.

"It is great to be here and meet the people of Birmingham. We all love this it is a very precious thing. We are going to keep it going, we have another two series to do.

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"We are going to shoot series seven in Birmingham and lots of series six in Birmingham.

"For me it is all about this city and what we can do. We have always had great directors and for this series I think this is the best series."

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, fans

Helen McCrory, who stars as fan favourite Aunt Polly, said: “Series five opens within the first few seconds the stock crash happens and the Shelby family are back on the streets again. It is the rise of fascism and Tommy Shelby who has had this dark past wants to go into the world of politics – can you lose your past, can you change yourself, do you change yourself.

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"What is interesting about Peaky is that each year Steven Knight manages to find these gems which have the added bonus of being true.

"It is fantastic to be here in Birmingham. Steven Knight always insists we have the premieres here – and quite right too!”

Sophie Rundle, who plays Ada Shelby, said: “The series starts with Tommy going into politics and begins with the economic crash – and how it affects these people that we have known since series one.

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, Sophie Rundle

"The show just gets better and better, every season. It is a beautiful thing to have the premiere here in Birmingham – it is like a character in the series, it is so vital.

"I just love the show. I feel a real sense of loyalty to it. I don’t think that Birmingham accent is easy for anyone, I just love it.”

Packy Lee, who stars as Johnny Dogs in the series, said: "It has been a fantastic turn out in Birmingham for the series five premiere. This is the best series we have had and we are elated to represent Birmingham, we think it is a fantastic city. I love Birmingham.

"The first episode is very exciting, it's very fast-paced. My character has been given more to do, more responsibility – there may or may not be some comic laughs along the way or some tears, or both!"

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall. Sophie Rundle and Packy Lee

Natasha O'Keefe, who plays Tommy Shelby's latest love interest Lizzie Starke, said: "They still have the complicated relationship. It is always Tommy, but poor old Lizzie remains.

"It's so fabulous because I had no idea when I started on Peaky Blinders that this would happen, that the relationship with Tommy and Lizzie would grow."

The man behind the character of Michael Gray, Finn Cole, said: "There is lots to expect from my character in series five, Michael comes back to Birmingham from America after the stock market crash and he's being used to try and build the family back up and back to where they belong.

"Fans can expect more of the stuff that they love in series five, more of the great costumes, fantastic writing, great characters and the great actors that we have on the show.

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, fans (left-right) Lisa Dunhan and Shirley Harris, both of Walsall

"I can't even put into words how much this show has changed my life, the job has been the most life-changing experience in the world. I went from not knowing what I was going to do with my life to being invited into a family not only on screen but off screen.

"It is amazing being back in Birmingham, it is incredible. It is really quite extraordinary to meet everyone and see the full support of the show."

Brummie Harry Kirton, who plays the youngest Shelby brother Finn, said: "This season I would say the best way to describe it is he's been put in a plant pot, and this season he's been taken out of the plant pot and put in the garden and given the chance to grow. He's had room to fail, to succeed and really push his boundaries.

"I would love to see Ezra Miller in Peaky Blinders and see what he would do and what character he would play.

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, Natasha O'Keeffe

"It's been a warm welcome here and I am always at home here. I'm just glad so many people have come out to celebrate series five. I just love my city. Birmingham is the place it should be shown and it is."

New cast members joining the series this year include Sam Claflin, Charlene McKenna, Anya Taylor-Joy and Daryl McCormack – who said at Thursday's premiere that it was "an incredible honour to be part of the show".

Joining the cast as Isiah Jesus, he added: "I was a fan of the show for four seasons and then to be part of the fifth season. It was nothing but an honour."

Fans of the Bafta Award-winning turned out in their droves – donning their flat caps, flapper dresses and Peaky Blinders merchandise. More than 76,000 people had applied for tickets to the premiere and exclusive screening – making the demand for the series the biggest yet, according to BBC bosses.

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, Finn Cole with fans

Also on the red carpet were stars from the region including former manager of West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa Ron Atkinson, television presenter Jamie East, male model Ricki Hall, Michelin star chef and restaurateur and fresh from winning the 2019 Cricket World Cup, Chris Woakes.

Mr Woakes said: "I am very much a big fan of the show and to have a Birmingham base too, it's great to be at home. It has been a busy seven weeks or so with the World Cup obviously I am delighted with the win but it is nice to come and spend some time with the family and have a nice night out with my wife Amy.

"The whole England team is a fan of Peaky Blinders, they are quite jealous that I am here. I love the Peaky Blinders. Anything related to Birmingham makes you proud and the fact Peaky Blinders has gone worldwide."

Mr Atkinson said: "I am a very big fan of the Peaky Blinders, I think it is brilliant. My father used to tell me about those guys when they were doing the race tracks so I had a little prior knowledge."

Glynn Purnell attending the Peaky Blinders Series Five World Premiere held at Birmingham Town Hall

When asked what food he would cook for the Peaky Blinders, Glynn Purnell said: "Black pudding, poached eggs, pork pie or faggots and peas! I love the programme, it's fantastic. The fact that the programme is in Birmingham is unbelievable.

"It is just gathering momentum. It is fantastic for the viewers and Birmingham."

Fans of the Bafta Award-winning turned out in their droves – donning their flat caps, flapper dresses and Peaky Blinders merchandise. More than 76,000 people had applied for tickets to the premiere and exclusive screening – making the demand for the series the biggest yet, according to BBC bosses.

Dressed in her flapper dress, 23-year-old Jessica Threlfall, from Birmingham, said: "I am a big fan of the Peaky Blinders. I've been a fan since the show started. Tommy and Polly are my favourite characters."

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, fans Kurt Fennell and Heather Foulke, both of Nottingham

Shirley Harris, 48, from Walsall, said: "We love the show, we came to the premiere for season four too. That was brilliant and it was really good to get up close with Cillian which was great.

"Tommy Shelby has to be my favourite character."

Forty-one-year-old Tom Rowland, from Birmingham, said: "I absolutely love the show – I can't wait for the new series.

"A friend of mine managed to get tickets for the premiere in the ballot so we are really excited.

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, fans Sharon McManus and Paul McManus, both of Dudley

"My favourite character has got to be Arthur Shelby – he's just got that walk!"

Dudley couple Paul and Sharon McManus, aged 49 and 47 respectively, said: "We are addicted to the show. It's filmed so local to use too at the Black Country Museum which is just great.

"We both love Arthur, we met Paul Anderson before and he's brilliant, so down to earth and he's got a lot of time for fans.

"We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary with a Peaky Blinders themed party – we even had the Black Country Peaky Blinders renew our wedding vows!"

Peaky Blinders premiere, Birmingham Town Hall, fans David Antonio and Fee McKinnon, both of London

Series five of the Peaky Blinders finds the world thrown into turmoil by the financial crash of 1929 – with opportunity and misfortune everywhere. When Tommy Shelby MP is approached by a charismatic politician with a bold vision for Britain, he realises that his response will affect not just his family's future but that of the entire nation.

Peaky Blinders series five is to air on BBC One later this year.

Our reporter Dayna Farrington posted LIVE UPDATES from the event:

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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