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Steven Knight: Who is the Peaky Blinders creator behind the Commonwealth Games 2022 opening ceremony?


The 2022 Commonwealth Games is kicking off today in Birmingham.

At 7pm on Thursday (28 July), the sporting event will begin with a lengthy three-and-a-half-hour opening ceremony.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is one of the key voices who devised the ceremony, serving as an executive producer.

Theatre director Iqbal Khan is the ceremony’s artistic director. Novelist Maeve Clarke and rapper Joshua “RTKal” Holness serve as writer and music consultant respectively.

Brummie new wave band Duran Duran are set to perform as part of the ceremony, as well as Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi (alongside Soweto Kinch).

Samantha Oxborough will also perform the National Anthem, supported by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

But who is Knight, and what’s his involvement in Birmingham 2022?

Who is Steven Knight?

Knight is best known as the creator of the BBC gangster series Peaky Blinders.

Set in Birmingham in the aftermath of World War One, the series stars Cillian Murphy as charismatic criminal Tommy Shelby.

Outside of Peaky Blinders, Knight has enjoyed a prolific career as a screenwriter and film director.

Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders (BBC)

(PA Media)

He wrote the scripts for films including Dirty Pretty Things and David Cronberg’s Eastern Promises, and wrote and directed the 2013 Tom Hardy film Locke. His other directoral efforts also include the widely panned 2019 Matthew McConaughey-Anne Hathaway vehicle Serenity.

Knight also co-created the hit TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

What has he said about the opening ceremony?

Speaking to BBC News ahead of the Birmingham 2022 opening ceremony, Knight referenced the acclaimed 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, orchestrated by Danny Boyle.

“A lot of opening ceremonies are visually spectacular but emotionally quite timid, I think,” Knight said. “But this one is very emotional. It’s got a story to tell. It’s about the people of Birmingham. So it’s the story of what the city has achieved, and how it’s achieved it by the people that are here.

Gymnasts train inside Arena Birmingham ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games

(Getty Images)

“It feels like it’s Birmingham’s turn to shine – and this show certainly shines,” he added.

Comparing it to Boyle’s famous ceremony, he commented: “I remembered watching on telly and thinking, oh my God, this is brilliant – the way that it worked, the humour and all of that.

“That set the bar, I think, for all opening ceremonies anywhere in the world, and I don’t think anybody’s come close since. Now, we’ve got some of the same people who did that, including Martin Green [chief creative officer of Birmingham 2022].

“I think we’re not just going to come close – I think we’ll be better.”

Click here for the latest news about this year’s Commonwealth Games.


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