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Peaky Blinders

‘Peaky Blinders’ Creator Lines Up Illegal Boxing Series with Stephen Graham

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is releasing a new 12-part series about illegal boxing in 1880s Victorian London starring Stephen Graham, titled A Thousand Blows. The upcoming show is set to be released on Disney+, with Graham playing underground boxing veteran Sugar Goodson as well as executive producing the drama. It marks a welcomed reunion for the two British film icons, following a dazzling display from Graham in the final season of Knight’s much loved BBC drama series about the beleaguered Shelby family. Interestingly, it also sees a unique return to the underground world of bare-knuckles boxing for Graham, who rose to prominence as Tommy in Guy Ritchie’s  2000 hit Snatch. 

Stephen Graham in BBC's 'Peaky Blinders' (2022) | Image: BBC
Stephen Graham in BBC’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ (2022) | Image: BBC

For fans of Knight and the Peaky Blinders clan, the new series is a perfect continuation of themes. While the series will have no connection to the Shelbys, it does indicate a familiar foray back into England’s seedy underbelly in the wake of major economic upheaval.  According to the official synopsis, the thrilling series will follow Hezekiah and Alec, two best friends from Jamaica who find themselves thrust into the vibrant and violent melting pot of post-industrial revolution London’s East End.

“Drawn into the criminal underbelly of the thriving boxing scene, Hezekiah meets Mary Carr, leader of The Forty Elephants – the notorious all-female London gang – as they battle for survival on the streets. As Hezekiah sharpens his new skills, he comes up against Sugar Goodson, a seasoned and dangerous boxer played by Stephen Graham, and the two are soon locked into an intense rivalry that spills out way beyond the ring.”

Knight, who was the executive producer and creator of Peaky Blinders, expressed his excitement for the upcoming project, saying: “I’m really thrilled to be working on this project with Stephen as well as the very talented production team and group of writers. I always love to delve into untold history, and this is a story that really deserves to be told.”

Stephen Graham
Stephen Graham | Image: The Guardian/ David Levene

Graham, who featured in the final season of Peaky Blinders, feels ‘privileged’ to work with Knight again and praised Matriarch Productions for teaming up on A Thousand Blows. “To be able to work with Steve again and the talented team of writers we have for this project is truly wonderful, and to tell the story of these incredible characters during this period of time in London is a joy,” the actor told Deadline.

He added in a statement: Aside from having the privilege of bringing the role of Sugar Goodson to life, I am also extremely proud that Matriarch is co-producing this show whilst helping to create opportunities for people in front of and behind the camera, instilling the ethos of providing training within production that otherwise would be difficult for some to pursue as a career. ‘Don’t count the days… Make the days count.’ – Muhammad Ali.”

Only last month, Steven Knight told fans the Peaky Blinders spin-off film is nearly entirely written. Speaking with British radio station Heart FM, Knight also confirmed shooting would begin “within 18 months”. “We’re going to shoot it at the studios in Digbeth, and on location in Digbeth in Birmingham,” he said during the interview. “Digbeth and Small Heath (are) where the Peaky Blinders actually roamed, so it’s like Peaky’s coming home.” Just last month, Knight outlined plans to release a new series about Enzo Ferrari, the visionary behind the iconic automotive company.

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