Peaky Blinders

*contains mini spoilers*

Last night I attended the Bafta Cymru Screening event: The Peaky Blinders Season Finale + Q&A.

I recently started watching the insanely popular Peaky Blinders and have quickly turned into a super fan. I saw the event advertised on Twitter, and Bafta Cymru (the Welsh branch of British Academy of Film and Television Awards) were putting on this one off event… I just had to grab tickets. Unfortunately there were no actors in attendance, (I would have freaked OUT of course…) but some of the production team were there and was a great evening!

Preview screening

The event was a screening of the final episode of series 6. It was a (free) ticketed event held at the Chapter Arts centre in Cardiff. Doors opened at 8pm and the episode began at 8:30 on the dot, half an hour ahead of the BBC transmission.

We were told to depart with our phones on arrival to avoid spoilers getting out and about, so we had to hand over our lifelines even before we entered the cinema. It was a regular cinema with a stage in front, with wooden rickety chairs and beaten up boxes to set the Peaky scene in preparation for the Q&A. I wanted to take some photos of the session but obviously this wasn’t possible due to strict rules!

It was a thrilling experience watching such a highly anticipated episode in a cinema setting with an audience, it really amped up the intensity of what we were watching. The audience gasped in horror when Barney was eliminated, chuckled when Alfie called Tommy the ‘C’ word and shook heads at everything Michael said. The cinema experience really made us pine for a film at some point in the future to conclude the final series (We’ve still got 2 to go, not to panic!)

The Q&A

Presenter Jo Pearce took the the stage to welcome some of the production team from series 6. They included: Chris Ballantyne (Co-Producer), Nicole Northridge (Production Designer), Jonathan Midlane (First Assistant Director) and Special Effects specialists, Danny Hargreaves and Arran Glasser from Cardiff-based company Real SFX (Represent! Woop woop!)

Before the screening my friend Rosie and I discussed ammunition for the Q’s to their A’s and here’s what she asked:

As the popularity of the show increases season by season how hard is it to still keep the secrets of the show an actual secret?

Jonathan Midlane, 1st AD was quick to respond to this one. He said ‘basically everyone has to but just wants to ‘keep schtum’ to keep the secrets. When Alfie came back for the final episode, Tom hardy’s name wasn’t on any paperwork and he had a different character name in the script. The scene between Alfie and Tommy was also the last scene they shot for the whole series.

An audience member asked about any possible mishaps with animals on set? This was a question for production designer Nicole Northridge. She responded that the animals fall under the art department’s care and that animal welfare is definitely taken seriously to ensure they’re happy and safe. The horse used for filming in episode 1 of season 6 was very well trained and went through 3 months of training to be able to fake his death. He learned to perform the stunt with a hessian bag on his head and there was very little CGI used to make it look like he was actually shot. He landed on a soft ground which was padded with several layers and covered in soft sand, covered in very soft grass.

I was surprised to learn that the panel professed Peaky is made on a small budget, of which they didn’t divulge of course. This got them talking about the recycling of sets and how things were dressed. Nicole also spoke about how Alfie’s place had been recycled three times over. It ended up being transformed from its original state into the hospital room Aberamma Gold escaped from with Polly, and then into Alfie’s cluttered, eccentric apartment in Margate.

She divulged that the Plaza dressing rooms in episode 6 were shot in the actual dressing rooms of the building in the height of Panto season. The team had very little time to disguise all plug sockets and modern strip lighting which is why the room was so heavily draped in fabric. This was also one of Nicole’s favourite rooms to pull together and had to be done in one day.

The Fun and Facts

Some of the panel commented that having a budget to work to or having rules and guidelines to stick to aids creativity in the teams involved, which ultimately brings out some of the best and most creative work.

During the Q&A, Danny Hargreaves from Real SFX gave a surprise demonstration of how the actors ‘get shot’. He called someone up from the audience to point a gun (a fake one obviously) and shoot his colleague. There was a loud bang and then a bullet mark in his shirt, followed by the explosion of fake blood of course. He explained they always check the actors are happy to get involved because it involved securing a metal plate to their bodies that then goes off with a bit of a bang and a jolt and triggers the fake blood to poor.

Brilliant Bafta

I’ve been to a Bafta event before; An audience with Luke Evans. You can read it here.

I think it’s so great that Bafta Cymru put on these special events for members of the public to attend. For someone like me who is really invested in Film and Tv, it’s a really exciting opportunity to come face to face with well known big names and some not so well known names working within the industry.

I have to admit I did want a few more things tied up like the looming fight between Tommy and Michael, and what happened between Tommy and Mosley after the rally? I guess that’s all part of the anticipation for next series! The finale was heart racing and I’d expect nothing less from Peaky. I certainly can’t wait for season 6!

What did you think of the season finale? Comment below!

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