With its epic portrayal of city-dwelling criminal families and internal power struggles, back-lit by the mindless violence that illuminates every good gangster yarn, one could be forgiven for thinking Sky Atlantic’s latest show draws heavily from the Peaky Blinders school of crime drama.
But while the BBC‘s hugely successful six series drama depicts an industrial 19th century Birmingham still reeling from the economic impact – and inevitable human cost – of World War I, Gangs Of London relies on thriving commercial London backdrops, fast cars, and the kind of high-caliber guns Tommy Shelby could only dream of.
Here, the Wallace family – ironically led by Peaky Blinders regular Joe Cole – dominate the modern day capital’s convoluted criminal underworld, ensuring each gang gets equal parity in a loosely strategised alliance.
Gritty: Sky Atlantic’s new drama Gangs of London is poised to return with a second series after launching to critical acclaim in 2020
With a heady mix of Pakistani heroin traffickers, Kurdish militants, Albanian mafiosi and even a thuggish Welsh travelling community all jostling for an equal slice of the pie, it’s a tough job – but one that, initially at least, appears to be running smoothly.
However things go south of the river when patriarch Finn Wallace – head of the family for more than 20-years – is assassinated, paving the way for bloody retribution as the gang seek out those responsible for his brutal death.
In true gangland style Finn is seen pleading for his life as he hangs upside down from a tall building before being burned alive, leaving his son Sean (Cole) to step up and become the leader of the most notorious criminal gangs in London.
Critically-acclaimed: The new show on Sky drew in 2.23 million viewers for its first episode, the channel’s second biggest original drama launch, behind the 2019 hit Chernobyl
Launched in 2020, the show’s nine episode run clocked up a staggering 113 deaths, as well as harrowing scenes of torture as the Wallace family waged war in the English capital.
The figure superseded the first season of notoriously graphic HBO drama Game Of Thrones, which ended with a comparatively paltry 48 fatalities.
Despite the carnage – or perhaps because of it – Gangs Of London drew in a promising 2.23 million viewers for its first episode, Sky Atlantic’s second biggest original drama launch, behind the 2019 hit Chernobyl.
Violent: The gritty drama has seen 113 deaths in the first season already as well as harrowing scenes of torture
In the first one-and-a-half-hour show, characters are punched 26 times, kicked seven times, four are shot and three are tortured, while its nine episodes include 96 shootings, 30 stabbings and seven strangulations.
Created by Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery, the show will return with a hotly anticipated second season in 2022.
Sky UK’s Managing Director of Content Zai Bennett said: ‘Not only is Gangs of London Sky’s most binged premiere box-set this year, it’s the biggest original drama launch on Sky Atlantic of the past five years.
Hard as nails: The Wallace family – led by Peaky Blinders regular Joe Cole – dominate the modern day capital’s convoluted criminal underworld, ensuring each gang gets equal parity in a loosely strategised alliance
‘It’s dark, dangerous and we are thrilled it is coming back for a second series. Will the Wallace family rise again, will the Dumanis remain loyal to their new allies and who is Elliot really working for?
‘All these questions and more will be waiting for Sky viewers when Gangs of London returns to screens in 2022.’
Director Gareth Evans recently spoke to LADbible about the potential for a second run, saying: ‘Obviously when we were designing it, as with anything you design the long form – you’re looking at “what can the future hold” and “where can the story continue to go and develop?”
Hit show: Likened to Peaky Blinders but with a modern twist, the series shocked viewers with its gory and gritty scenes, but was hailed a runaway hit
‘And I think that by the time audiences get to where the show ends in season one, they’ll know that there are so many different ways that it could play out.
‘I’m keeping super vague, I’m so sorry! But there’s lots of trailing loose ends of things that are all kind of like… You’d be curious to where those characters end up, and what becomes of them when you get to season two.’
Rotten Tomatoes lists Gangs Of London as having an approval rating of 71 percent and claims it is ‘one of the best show of the summer’.
Popular: Rotten Tomatoes lists Gangs Of London as having an approval rating of 71 percent and claims it is ‘one of the best show of the summer’