How many cigarettes do the cast of Peaky Blinders smoke and are they real?

25 August 2019, 21:15 | Updated: 25 August 2019, 21:16

As season five of the Brummie gangster drama, starring Cillian Murphy, airs on BBC One this week, find out how they manage to chain smoke throughout.

Peaky Blinders is set to return to our screens this Sunday (25 August), moving to its new home on BBC One at 9pm for season 5.

Anyone who's a fan of the hit series - starring Cillian Murphy (Thomas Shelby), Paul Anderson (Arthur Shelby) and Helen McCrory (Polly Gray) - will know the characters chain smoke throughout.

Whether it's a cigar, a cigarette or a roll-up, the Brummie gangster show sees the cast constantly puffing away, but are they really smoking real fags?

Watch the trailer for Peaky Blinders season 5 above and find out the answer below...

Paul Anderson plays Arthur in Peaky Blinders
Paul Anderson plays Arthur in Peaky Blinders. Picture: Press

Helen McCroy, who plays the formidable Polly Gray, revealed that the cast get through about 5,000 cigarettes during each series of the programme and Cillian Murphy's character gets through about 1,000 alone.

However, they are herbal cigarettes and don't contain nicotine... which doesn't make them taste any nicer.

She told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "They use herbal tobacco which has no nicotine and tastes horrible. They're the same type they smoke in theatre productions."

Helen McCrory plays Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders
Helen McCrory plays Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders. Picture: Press

The British actress added: "I used to go to plays for years and wonder why they had a [cannabis joint] on the go during a play and how they could remember their lines.

"It smells, to a layman like me, like someone is smoking cannabis. It's just a bit funny and not like tobacco."

Talking at a Q&A at the BFI back in July, McCrory did reveal that the cast don’t actually inhale the cigarettes used.

"But no actors were killed in the making of Peaky Blinders!,’ she joked. "We don’t inhale."

READ MORE: Peaky Blinders festival with Mike Skinner, Primal Scream, Anna Calvi to be held in Birmingham

Meanwhile, the team behind Peaky Blinders have announced an official festival for 2019.

The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival will take place in September and combine music, fashion, theatre and a museum to offer fans an immersive event in the home of the real-life Brummie gang.

The festival - which is co-curated by Cillian Murphy and Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight, will take place over two days in the historic streets, factories and warehouses of Digbeth, Birmingham and include music from across five stages with Primal Scream, Slaves and Nadine Shah to perform.

The event will also host performances from Anna Calvi (who scores the series) Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Slaves plus features a DJ set from The Streets' frontman Mike Skinner - with a very special secret guest still to be announced.

Event poster for The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival
Event poster for The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival. Picture: Press

Visit The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival page here