BAFTA winner and Hollywood star Tom Hardy is to join the cast of BBC2’s critically acclaimed gangster drama Peaky Blinders.

Tom, star of Bronson, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, will play a charismatic leader who presents a unique opportunity to Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Series two will see the Shelby family expand their empire in Birmingham and beyond as the 1920s begin to roar.

The casting reunites Tom, 36, with his Locke writer and director Steven Knight, who created Peaky Blinders and is writing all six episodes of the second series.

Peaky Blinders’ producers announced the news to fans first on Twitter and Facebook, and said series two will begin shooting later in February with a tentative screen date of autumn.