Birmingham & Black Country

New Year Honours 2020: CBE for Peaky Blinders creator

Steven Knight Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Steven Knight is the writer and creator of Peaky Blinders

The writer and creator of hit BBC drama Peaky Blinders has become a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Steven Knight was recognised for services to drama, entertainment and the community in Birmingham, which provided the inspiration and setting for the programme.

Mr Knight, who grew up in the city's Small Heath area, joked he would be celebrating "Tommy Shelby style".

The fictional gangster "occasionally has a bottle of champagne", he said.

"So that's what I'll do."

Image copyright Anthony Harvey
Image caption Mr Knight (left) said he had just finished writing the drama's sixth series, which stars Cillian Murphy (right)

The 60-year-old, who also wrote BBC One's adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, created Peaky Blinders based on retellings of his parents' childhoods growing up in Birmingham in the 1920s.

It first aired in 2013 and has now run to five series, attracting a global following of fans.

"I've just finished writing series six and it's the best yet," Mr Knight, who lives in East Sussex, said, "but we always say that."

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Media captionGlobal fans explain why they love the show

In October, Mr Knight revealed plans to launch a new group to boost creative output in the West Midlands, including a £100m film and TV studio.

Much of the first series of the drama following Birmingham's gangsters was filmed in Yorkshire after "a combination of the Luftwaffe and the local council in the 60s and 70s" made filming in the city difficult, Mr Knight told Radio 4.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Thousands of Peaky Blinders fans gathered for the Birmingham festival in September

He has been a vocal advocate for Birmingham, which he said suffers from "self-deprecation", and hopes the new studios will be transformative for the region. He also made the city the venue for the first official Peaky Blinders festival.

On finding out about his CBE, Mr Knight, whose film and TV credits also include Taboo, Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises, said it was "amazing".

He told the BBC: "I am very honoured to receive this award and would like to think it might reflect on the people of Birmingham whose stories and spirit have informed a substantial part of my work."

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