Peaky Blinders' creator, Steven Knight, brings 1980s Birmingham alive with his new gritty drama, This Town, owing much to the ska and two-tone music scene.

This Town, More Like Ghost Town: A Peaky Blinder's Spin

Grab your Trilby hats and sharpen those razor blades, folks! We're teleporting from the grimy gangster-filled roads of Peaky Blinders' Birmingham to the musical, chaotic streets of the same city in the '80s. Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders, presents 'This Town', a six-part BBC One drama soaked in ska and two-tone music. The '80s Birmingham comes alive (or should we say, undead, given the ghost town reference), moving to the beat of the Specials' 1971 hit, 'Ghost Town'.

In 'This Town', our protagonist quartet takes us waltzing into the world of ska and two-tone music, eerily resonating the lyrics of 'Ghost Town', "This town, coming like a ghost town, all the clubs have been closed down... Bands won't play no more, too much fighting on the dance floor." Such music was the jam of the late '70s in Birmingham and Coventry, where our drama sets its stakes high.

So, who does this eerie tune belong to? 'Ghost Town', a protest song encapsulating the gloomy era of Margaret Thatcher's Britain, was the brainchild of The Specials, a music group native to Knight's chosen location. The song narrates a time enmeshed in social unrest and deep economic recession, similar to the "moment of huge social tensions and unrest", the setting of 'This Town'. Knight seems to be at home amidst chaos, considering his previous endeavours like the crime drama 'Peaky Blinders' set in Birmingham, or 'Locke', a psychological thriller starring Tom Hardy.

Careful audience will notice the omnipresence of music in this drama, much like a specter haunting Birmingham. Produced by Kudos and Nebulastar and co-produced by Universal Music Group’s Mercury Studios, music pulsates through the series veins. Marc Robinson, the co-president of Mercury Studios, clarified to BBC, “We are thrilled to be able to creatively engage artists and help tell the story through new and original recordings.”

Don't worry, it's not just the tunes that are star-studded. This Town's stellar cast includes Levi Brown from the blockbuster 'Loss and Return', Jordan Bolger from 'The Woman King', Ben Rose from 'Line of Duty' and Eve Austin from 'You'. They are joined by Michelle Dockery, known for Downton Abbey and The Gentlemen, and The Policeman star David Dawson.

And when can we tune into this musical ghost town? While an exact release date still remains elusive, we're expecting the drama to hit BBC 1 and BBC iPlayer sometime in 2024. Until then, brush up on your dance moves, sharpen your music trivia, and keep an eye out for more news on upcoming TV shows in 2023 and beyond. Remember, in any ghost town, it’s more fun to be the haunting music than the specter itself!

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John Hope

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