Peaky Blinders director reveals heart-wrenching shooting scene writers wanted to cut from show

ONE of Peaky Blinders' most harrowing and also, controversial scene almost never made it onto the show.

Season five opened with a heartbreaking scene showing mob boss Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and a group of men standing around a shallow grave.

It then cuts to a hooded black stallion, belonging Tommy's son Charlie.

Tommy raises a revolver to the horse's head and then shoots him dead before holding the gun to his own head.

It turned out Tommy was forced to euthanise the sick horse, but fans of the hit BBC One drama, have wondered ever since how they filmed the scene and whether in fact, the horse died because it looked so realistic.

Director Anthony Byrne opened up about the logistics of shooting the dramatic and revealed it almost never happened.

He said in a recent online Q&A: "It was all done for real, it was all done in camera."

The filmmakers did not actually shoot the horse but worked with the eminent film-industry horse professionals, The Devil's Horsemen.

They train horsed to do stunts and also worked on Game of Thrones.

Byrne explained: "The horse was trained to do that move and it was on a pulley system, so there was a guy at the back of the horse where he pulls this lead which yanks the horses head back and rears the horse up.

"We dug up [the earth around the horse] and put in softer earth then put the grass back on top of it so that it was cushioned for the horse to land on."

He added: "We had two cameras and did it maybe three times because the horse gets used to the actions."

Byrne also explained that Murphy was given a countdown off camera and only completed the action of shooting the horse.

The sound effect and horse stunts were done seperately.

Byrne gushed: "I was really proud of that sequence because that was one we had to discuss a lot about health and safety."

But the unbelievable shot almost never happened because writer Steven Knight thought they would never be able to pull it off.

"Steven had actually written it out of the script and we don't see it," Byrne said.

Peaky Blinders follows the Shelby crime family in Birmingham after their return from World War I.

Filming on season six of the drama was paused due to the coronavirus.

But cast and crew alike have promised the upcoming season will be one of the show's best.
Peaky Blinders seasons 1-5 are available on BBC iPlayer

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