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. I was very fortunate to get my hands on some of the last tickets available and my friend Rosie drove the one-hour journey to meet me after work to attend this top secret event. Unfortunately there were no actors in attendance, but some of the production team were there and it was a really really evening.
The event was a screening of the final episode of series 5. It was a (free) ticketed event held at the Chapter Arts centre in Cardiff. Doors opened at 8pm and the episode began promptly 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 online, so we had to hand over our phones – 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 prep for the Q&A. I wanted to take some photos of the session but obviously this wasn’t possible due to strict rules and the obvious lack of phone.
It was a thrilling experience watching such a highly anticipated episode in a cinema setting with an audience. Being surrounded by other fans 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 tutted at everything Michael said. The cinema experience really made us pine for a film at some point in the future. We’ve still got two series left to go – not to panic!
Presenter Jo Pearce took the the stage following the episode to welcome some of the production team from series 5. 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.
The panel were 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 keep quiet but we do all want to ‘keep schtum’ to keep the secrets. He explained that 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 animals fall under the art department’s care and that animal welfare is taken very seriously to ensure they’re happy and safe. The horse who appear in episode 1 of season 5 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 very soft sand, covered in soft grass.
I was surprised to learn that the panel professed Peaky is made on a small budget – of which they didn’t divulge a figure of course. This got them talking about the recycling of sets and how things were dressed.
Nicole spoke about how Alfie’s place had been recycled three times over at this point. It ended up being transformed from its original state into the hospital room Aberamma 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 just one day.
The Fun and Facts
Some of the panel commented that having a budget to work 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 at his colleague who had a small explosive patch attached to his shirt. As the audience member pulled the trigger, Danny pressed a button which triggered the patch to explode. There was a loud bang and then a bullet mark suddenly appeared in his shirt followed by fake blood trickling down his chest.
After the demo, Danny explained they always check the actors are happy to get involved in these stunts because it involves securing a metal plate to their bodies, which is the ‘explosive patch’. Once it explodes, it goes off with a bang and a big jolt which seemingly makes the actors body jump and triggers the fake blood to poor.
I’ve been to a BAFTA Q&A event before which was also great fun. These brilliant events aren’t very well know of but you can search for upcoming events and free tickets via the BAFTA website. I previously wrote about 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 and some not so well known names within the industry.
I have to admit I did want a few more things tied up at the end of series 5, 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, it was hugely magnified by being in a cinema setting so I hope they do the same for the next series. I certainly can’t wait for season 6 to come.
What did you think of the Peaky Blinders season finale? Comment below!