We’re studying the 12 scenes in the opening ten minutes of the very first episode of Peaky Blinders.
We’re on to scene 9.
In this scene Steven Knight reveals the main antagonist, the hero and the main plot.
Visually. With no dialogue. In 39 seconds.
“There’s trouble coming!” warns Arthur Shelby at the end of the previous scene.
CUT TO: A steam train approaches, screaming and whistling –
CLOSE ON series main antagonist – CHIEF INSPECTOR CAMPBELL.
CUT TO: Campbell’s POV of the front of the file he’s reading.
We’re given 4 seconds to learn 3 things about his mission:
1. It’s Top Secret.
2. It’s The Special Branch.
3. He is hunting the ‘prime suspects’ of a ‘munitions robbery.’
Next, CUT TO a wide shot of the fiercely focused Police Chief in the train’s carriage.
and then CLOSE ON the document he’s studying –
CLOSER on the photo –
It’s Arthur – in uniform.
We pan across to his name and read:
Gangster. Racketeer. Bookmaker.
Leader of the Peaky Blinders.
Next, CLOSE once more on Campbell’s determined focus –
– and he’s on to the next file.
Thomas Shelby, also in uniform.
Pan across to the prime suspect’s profile –
And drop down to see the words:
Honoured for Gallantry.
CUT TO: Campbell’s intense thinking again
A shot of his dual suspects – Thomas and Arthur Shelby.
Finally, we watch from behind as Campbell’s train whistles and screams like a police siren.
The series main antagonist has arrived!
In the next scene Steven Knight sets his story in a political context.
Click here for Scene 10.