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Losing Tom Hardy would be a blow for any show, even one with as fantastic an ensemble cast as Peaky Blinders.

But Hardy’s popular character Alfie Solomons, who appeared in 10 episodes of the British period drama between 2014 and 2017, definitely isn’t coming back for season five, and writer-creator Steven Knight has reassured fans that it won’t affect the show’s special brand of intensity.

“I personally believe – and I think everybody involved believes – that this is the best series yet, for all sorts of reasons,” Knight told the Radio Times. “There’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of bells ringing, there’s a lot of conflict happening. It’s like when Sam Neill was no longer in it [after the first two seasons]. That felt like a loss, but you move on. You have to.”

Knight also revealed that season five, which began filming last fall, will see Cillian Murphy‘s lead character Tommy Shelby brush up against the British fascist movement of the 1930s.

“Tommy Shelby is always on the way up – and sort of on the way down as well,” Knight said. “Obviously he has political power now, and in series five he confronts fascism. Well, not ‘confront’ exactly, but that is what is happening at the time. The 1930s were all about the rise of fascism; how does Tommy Shelby respond?”

Though Hardy is no longer part of the Peaky Blinders family, he and Knight are still working together on the upcoming second season of Taboo, the BBC/FX drama they co-created with the actor’s father Chips Hardy.

Peaky Blinders season five will air on BBC One in the U.K. and stream on Netflix in the U.S. later this year.

Are you excited for season five of Peaky Blinders?

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By Nick Levine