Peaky Blinders fans anticipate Shelbys return and new arrival Stephen Graham

The wait is nearly over for fans of Steven Knight’s epic Birmingham gangster drama Peaky Blinders. 

Sunday 27 February sees the return of the legendary Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, and his mob for the sixth and final series of the smash hit saga.

But what can we expect from Tommy and his friends – and enemies – when we catch up with them?

Fans are also keen to know about the new arrivals joining the series for its finale, including acclaimed star of Time and Line of Duty, Stephen Graham.

When we last saw Tommy Shelby, he was at breaking point – yet again. And as the much-anticipated drama about the Peaky Blinders street gang returns, we find out what happened after Tommy was left pacing his muddy field with a gun to his head and a blood-curdling roar.

He didn’t pull the trigger, but Tommy – now a Labour MP having spent the last few series trying to go legit – has many battles to face in the sixth and final outing.

Can he halt the fascists, led by Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), who he failed to have killed?

And will cocky upstart Michael Gray steal the Shelby throne?

We do know that Tom Hardy will be back as Alfie Solomons, the leader of a Jewish gang in Camden Town.

And as Sam Claflin returns as Sir Oswald Mosley, he’s joined by Strike actress Amber Anderson as Diana, the fascist leader’s second wife, and member of the legendary Mitford clan.

But mystery still surrounds the role that will be taken by Stephen Graham, although Steven Knight recently gave a little teaser in an interview with Digital Spy.

"I've always wanted him to be in it,” Stephen Knight said of the acclaimed actor, seen last year in the drama Care along with fellow Liverpudlian, Jodie Comer.

He added: “A character was starting to develop in the Liverpool docks. And you just think, 'well, there can be nobody else for this character'.

"So it's somebody who comes up against Tommy, who isn't an enemy, really."

Fans will need to wait to learn more about how Stephen’s character interacts with the Shelbys, but a teaser clip released by the BBC did reveal that Graham is playing a Scouser, and in it he says, "I hear there are some people from Liverpool looking for me."

Meanwhile, star of the show Cillian has spoken about where we find the protagonist on his return, and where the story is, historically, as he talks about Steven Knight’s vision for the series.

Screenwriter Steven said: “We’ve jumped ahead now – we’re in 1934 in the story so quite a bit of time has elapsed. Steve brings in a few new characters that are unexpected. Some are real-life historical characters and others are based on real-life historical characters but they’re all very, very interesting.”

And it seems that Tommy is mixing in high society now, too.

The writer added: “Again, Tommy’s rise is at the centre of it all – he’s a legal bookmaker, then all of a sudden he becomes an MP and now he’s mixing with Churchill.”

Of course series six won't feature Helen McCrory, the much-loved star who played Polly Gray, matriarch of the clan, but died tragically from cancer in 2021. However Steven Knight and his cast have spoken about how her presence will be felt.

And the best news for fans of the moody drama is that there is a definite plan to bring the Shelbys back, on the big screen.

“I think Steve has always had an endgame in mind. Covid screwed that up a bit,” Cillian said. “But now he’s got lots of plans to make a film. So I don’t think this is the end of the story.

“I think it’s probably just the end of the story in this form. But Steve is always bringing up ideas. And they’re always good. So I’ll just wait and see what he has to say…”

Peaky Blinders airs on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One

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