Tom Hardy achieved something impressive last night: he managed to be the most menacing person in Peaky Blinders (BBC2), a series in which everyone is capable of slicing someone else’s face off without prior notice. Hardy was Mr Solomons of the Camden Jews, with whom the Shelbys of Birmingham are looking to side in the war with the Italians. He was even scary from behind, which is how he made his entrance, walking away from the camera toward his first meeting with Thomas Shelby.
“I’ve heard very bad, bad, bad things about you Birmingham people,” he said. Shelby, who’d only had a four-day canal trip to recover from the beating he took in episode one, did look pretty bad.
The only problem with Hardy’s brief appearance was that I kept hoping he’d turn up again, and he didn’t. It was a fantastic performance, compelling and funny in a way that made you afraid to laugh. “Bone, mush, bone, cabinet,” is how he described the path of a potential bullet from a gun he was pointing at Shelby’s head. I held my breath for most of his time on screen.