A new six-part multi-million-pound drama with an international cast commissioned by BBC2 has started filming in Yorkshire, including locations in Keighley.

Peaky Blinders is an epic gangster family saga set in England after the First World War and is written by Steven Knight, writer of Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises.

Its stars include Sam Neill (The Tudors, The Piano, Jurassic Park), Helen McGrory (Harry Potter, The Queen), Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes the Barley) and Charlie Creed-Miles (Nil By Mouth, Wild Bill).

The film is part of a slate of projects funded by regional film agency Screen Yorkshire from its £7.5m European Regional Development Fund.

Screen Yorkshire’s head of communications Andrew Craske said: “Although the story is set in Birmingham, films go where the money is and Screen Yorkshire offered a multi-million-pound package of investment.

“We’re hoping this will be bigger than David Peace’s Red Riding, which was three films. This is a six-part series with a big international cast, big budget and high production values.

“The film-friendliness of Yorkshire in general and Bradford as Unesco City of Film in particular also played a part in this.”

Sally Joynson, chief executive of Screen Yorkshire, said: “Peaky Blinders is the first project to receive investment from the Yorkshire Content Fund and what a project it is.

“It is the type of production we are looking to attract to Yorkshire – big budget, epic storyline and with immense talent involved across the project. Peaky Blinders shows how our new fund is attracting productions of scale to the region.”

The story begins in 1919 in the lawless slum neighbourhoods of post-war Birmingham. Returning soldiers, newly-minted revolutionaries and criminal gangs all fight for survival in an industrial landscape gripped by economic upheaval.

Guns smuggled home from the trenches find their way on to the streets and become lethal currency. Communists don’t just dream of revolution – they are planning for it and the Government is expecting it.

As Churchill mobilises his Special Branch forces, illegal bookmakers make fortunes in speak-easy betting shops and traumatised infantrymen drink away their shell-shock in riotous ale houses.

At the top of this industrial jungle are the extended Shelby family, whose many brothers and sisters, cousins and uncles, make up the fiercest gang of all, the ‘Peaky Blinders’. Named for their practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps, the Peaky Blinders make their money from off-track betting, protection and robbery.

This is the first TV drama by series creator Steven Knight, who said: “The story I want to tell is based on family legend and historical fact. It is a fiction woven into a factual landscape which is breathtakingly dramatic and cinematic, but which for very English reasons has been consigned to historical text books.”