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Peaky Blinders creator says Commonwealth Games ceremony has ‘real heart’

Director and screenwriter Steven Knight, who was born in Birmingham, is executive producer of the ceremony.

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Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight said the opening ceremony for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, hosted in Birmingham, has ‘real heart’ (Jacob King/PA)

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight said the opening ceremony for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, hosted in Birmingham, has ‘real heart’ (Jacob King/PA)

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight said the opening ceremony for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, hosted in Birmingham, has ‘real heart’ (Jacob King/PA)

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight said the opening ceremony for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, hosted in Birmingham, has “real heart”.

The 62-year-old director and screenwriter, who was born in the city and is executive producer of the ceremony, made the remark after saying that other similar events are often “emotionally timid”.

The show, set to take place in the newly-refurbished Alexander Stadium on Thursday July 28 in front of 30,000 people and a global television and online audience, will include Brummie artists Duran Duran and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi among others.

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Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is executive producer of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony (Jacob King/PA)

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is executive producer of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony (Jacob King/PA)

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Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is executive producer of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony (Jacob King/PA)

Speaking at a press briefing ahead of the event, Mr Knight said: “What’s different, I think, about this is that a lot of these events are visually spectacular but emotionally timid.

“A lot of times I think people are afraid to take a stance, afraid to make a point, that they’re believing that they’ve got to please all of the people all the time.

“What this does is tells a real story, it’s got real emotion, it’s got real heart.

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“And you know, I think people will be really moved by what they see, not just the bangs and the crashes but the bangs and crashes of emotions that are in there, the story of the people, and I’ve used that term for a purpose.”

He added: “It’s that the Birmingham story is the story of the common people and it always has been and that’s what this story is, you know, and the things that Birmingham has given to the world such as electricity, technology, English speaking drama from William Shakespeare 20 miles down the road.”

It's a challenging story to tell, but it's a really positive story to tellIqbal Khan

Mr Knight also suggested he created Peaky Blinders partly because of a lack of TV and film from Birmingham.

He said the city was “grown up”, with car manufacturing and financial industries, before adding: “But for some reason in terms of media production there’s this sort of a vacuum and, as you know, I did Peaky because I wanted to address that.

“And it surprised me at how international it has been. It’s the second most watched show on Netflix around the world.”

Theatre producer Iqbal Khan, who is artistic director of the opening ceremony, said the performance would address the “problematic history” of the Commonwealth.

He said he would approach it by “not ignoring it and by dramatising something of friction and a history of trauma”.

“But also it’s a history of resilience and an embrace of a new way that those people informed,” he said.

“So I think ultimately it’s a challenging story to tell, but it’s a really positive story to tell.

“I’m not doing anything to punish anyone, but to actually celebrate a spirit and an embrace of difference that’s particularly exemplified in this city.”


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