Peaky Blinders is set in post-World War I Birmingham, but has the feel of a Western. It opens with Cillian Murphy (occupying the position of Primetime BBC Cheekbones whilst Benedict Cumberbatch is away) riding horseback through a filthy slum. Men, women and children scatter as he approaches, whilst drums thud in the background and a lonely viola plays a haunting solo. Murphy cuts a menacing figure as Tommy Shelby, the kingpin of the Peaky Blinders- so called because of the razors stitched into the peaks of their flat caps.

Tommy is a compelling character. He received medals for gallantry in the war, but now he’s fixing bets and hiding stolen ammunition. He’s treated with reverence and wariness by those who know who he is – which turns out to be almost everyone. Whilst his stony gaze hints he isn’t to be crossed, we glimpse moments of compassion, particularly in his treatment of his shell-shocked friend, that suggest there is more to this character than meets the eye.

The drama is heavily stylised. The action is painted in muddy browns and earthy greys so that when colour does appear it stands out and sticks in the memory: red powder billowing through the air; blood spatter on pale skin. This technique is used to great effect with the arrival of the enigmatic Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis). She appears dressed in vivid green and strolling calmly down a mucky, dilapidated street in which she is so clearly out of place. “Are you a whore?” asks Tommy, in a somewhat unconventional introduction. “’Cause if you’re not, you’re in the wrong place.”

This is a violent world where the power balance is held in place by bribes, blackmail and murder. However, the arrival of Northern Irish Inspector Campbell (Sam Neill) threatens the fragile order. A ruthless Javert-like character, he has been sent to rid Birmingham of gangs, Communists and the IRA. While I’m on the subject of communists, we’ve seen the ‘sister has affair with man holding controversial political views’ in many a drama before (Downton Abbey, anyone? Upstairs Downstairs?) so this aspect of the storyline didn’t exactly put me on the edge of my seat.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot of potential in Peaky Blinders. A nice bit of intrigue has been set up involving stolen guns, and I’d hazard a guess that something is going to happen between Tommy and Grace, signalled by the lingering gaze they shared mid-episode. The fact that she (perhaps predictably) turns out to be more than just a barmaid with a pretty voice might make things more interesting though. Overall, then, Peaky Blinders is definitely one to stick with.