Tom Hardy's Peaky Blinders character Alfie Solomons was a formidable gangster whose clipped tone of voice always teetered between humour and terror. The character - which series director Colm McCarth recently revealed was inspired by a bear, yes, really - exited the series at the end of season four, after taking a bullet from Cillian Murphy's character Tommy Shelby.
The dramatic turn of events seems like the sort of thing that Peaky HQ would have been cooking up for a while, but it turns out that the way things ended wasn't a foregone conclusion.
Speaking on BBC's Obsessed with Peaky Blinders podcast, director David Caffrey revealed that Hardy's departure from the series had not been in the works for a long time.
"That was the thing with the script - that wasn't in the script," he said. "I think we started shooting. We had a tiny little window with Tom about. We did the stuff at the beer barrels in Liverpool and then we were about to go to the beach.
"So yeah, that particular scene - I think it was Tom and Cillian that sort of worked out the scene, that they fire their guns together and both fall over.
He continued, "So pretty much the bones of the scene that Steve had written was there, but you know just through production reasons, you kind of have to approach things in a different way."
There's been much speculation as to whether Alfie is in fact dead, and whether Hardy will ever return to the franchise. When asked by the Birmingham Mail back in June whether Alfie is a goner, series creator Steven Knight coyly answered: "pass".
'Peaky Blinders' season 5 begins on BBC One on Sunday 25 August
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