The telly schedules will be filling up with crime thriller series over the coming months – The Tunnel, The Blacklist and the return of Homeland, among them – as the networks unveil their autumn goodies. And there are a couple of new series tomorrow night that you must, or must not, watch, as you see fit.
Peaky Blinders is the BBC’s attempt at a period crime drama in the Boardwalk Empire vein. Set in Birmingham just after the First World War, it follows the Peaky Blinders gang – so named for their charming practice of sewing razor blades into their caps – as they make money from illegal betting, protection and the black market.
Here’s some blurb :
Birmingham, 1919. Thomas Shelby is a war veteran, and head of feared gang, the Peaky Blinders. When he comes into possession of a crate of guns from the local arms factory, Thomas sees an opportunity to increase the gang’s power and move up in the world. Meanwhile, tough Belfast copper Chief Inspector Campbell arrives in town, tasked with the recovery of the guns by none other than Winston Churchill. Will Thomas listen to the Peaky Blinders’ family matriarch, Aunt Polly, who instructs him to ditch the weapons rather than take on the police?
At the same time Thomas incurs the wrath of his older brother, Arthur, when he stages ‘the powder trick’: a magic spell which will encourage the locals to bet on a horse. It’s the first step in fixing a race, but Thomas did it without the permission of Billy Kimber, the kingpin who runs the racetracks.
Thomas’s younger sister Ada, meanwhile, is secretly having a relationship with his former best friend and the man who saved his life in the trenches, Freddie Thorne. Freddie is a Marxist, encouraging workers to strike over their recent cuts in pay.
Like Thomas and the Peaky Blinders, Freddie and the Communists are on Chief Inspector Campbell’s list of suspects: organisations he intends to decapitate in his ruthless search for the missing guns.
There’s Cillian Murphy, looking like he means business – we like him. I don’t know the name of the horse, but I can confirm that Sam Neill is in Peaky Blinders, and we absolutely love him around here.
If you’re still umming-and-aahing about whether to watch it, be aware that it was created by Steven Knight, who wrote Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things. That title, though — I keep wanting to say Pesky Blinders, which makes it sound a bit Scooby-Doo.
Peaky Blinders is on Thursday night – that’s tomorrow for the terminally bewildered among you – at 9pm. It may require an hour of your attention should you intend to watch the whole thing.
Why, it’s our old friend, Norman Bates, coming out of mothballs, and bringing his deranged – but undeniably hot – mother with him.
Bates Motel has already been commissioned for another season in the States. I think a lot of people were very sceptical about the idea of retooling Hitchcock’s iconic Psycho, but actually, the reviews for Bates Motel have been very good.
It follows Norma and little Norman’s new life in a small town as they attempt to set up a new motel business and get to know the locals, very possibly by killing and burying them.
Bates Motel clashes – would you believe it! – with Peaky Blinders. It’s on the Universal Channel – there is such a thing, I assure you, check your EPG – at 9pm, tomorrow night. Yes, Thursday. So something, as they say, has to give.
Look, I’m terribly sorry about the photo of Bradley Walsh, but there is a good reason. You see, him off Law And Order: UK presents a new six-part series on Monday called – wait for it – Crime Thriller Club.
It’s a studio-based… hold on, I’m just going to cut-and-paste the blurb to save time:
Bradley Walsh presents this new six-part studio-based show celebrating the very best of crime fiction and television with high-profile guests, quizzes, bluffer’s guides and peeks behind the scenes of popular dramas.
Culminating in the glittering Crime Thriller Awards 2013 in October at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the series gets exclusive access to the stars and sets of some of Britain’s best known crime thriller programmes like Bletchley Circle, Silent Witness and Midsomer Murders.
Each week the programme gives viewers a bluffer’s guide with a short run-down of the key features of a popular crime drama – from Scott and Bailey to Foyle’s War.
A book of the week is featured, focusing on high-profile authors such as Linwood Barclay and up-and coming names like Diana Bretherick. Living legends of the crime writing genre are also profiled, including Martina Cole, Patricia Cornwell and Wilbur Smith.
Finally, the studio guest and viewers are encouraged to take part in a quiz on a popular crime programme – from Sherlock to Inspector Morse.
Face-palm! Can’t they just leave it to excellent and informative blogs to do this sort of thing? I can’t think of any off the top of my head but, I mean, there are a few out there, right?
So that’s it, then. You won’t need the likes of me any more. All you’ll have to do is set your recorder for ITV3 – that’ll be a first, I bet – on Monday night at 9pm.
*Storms off in a huff*