TV & Movies

Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy smoked more than 1000 cigarettes in one season

Peaky Blinders are known for several things – their waistcoats, their razor-blade hiding flat caps, and the ever present cigarettes being held in their mouths.

But obviously the cost of looking gangster cool is more than just what we see on screens, with the real-life actors having to puff away on the cigarettes for multiple shots of the same scene.

In fact, Helen McCrory, who plays Aunt Polly on the series, has revealed that leading man Cillian Murphy had to smoke a staggering amount as Tommy Shelby.

When quizzed about the smoking habits of the clan at a Q+A at the BFI on Wednesday night, Helen McCrory left audiences gasping with the real number.

The actress joked: ‘Let me show you my lungs!’ when asked by a fan just how much they have to smoke for each season.

She then revealed: ‘Cillian apparently, and I can’t remember which season, the props guys reckoned about a thousand.’

‘But no actors were killed in the making of Peaky Blinders!,’ she added. ‘We don’t inhale.’

If the amount of smoking in previous seasons is bad, it looks like Tommy is going to be even worse in season five of the hit BBC show – as the character heads to London as an MP.

On top of that, the Shelby family is in trouble as the Wall Street collapse of 1929 sends the family business into turmoil, something Tommy needs to now get them out of.

The first episode of the new season will bring the family back together in a big way, as newcomer Oswald Mosely enters onto the scenes of Birmingham and London.

Mosley is soon propositioning Tommy with something that could affect the UK as a whole – meaning that he has some big decisions to make.

Could the Shelbys be turning facist?

Not too soon to find out…

Speaking about Mosely’s role in the series, writer Steven Knight promises a chilling look into a world that is all too relevant.

He said at the event: ‘There’s the rise of nationalism, populism, fascism and racism. The huge sweep across the world, and you look at the world now and what I hope people might take from this is what was the consequence of when it happened last time?’

‘Nine years later there was a war,’ Knight continued That’s what happened before and there was this real movement of, “We must protect ourselves, foreigners are the enemy.”’

‘People will find it staggering that the language, the phrases, the sentences used at the time are not just similar [to now] but the same, it’s chilling.’

Peaky Blinders returns later this year on BBC One.

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