Peaky Blinders is back, and the spine-chilling opening scene had us hooked. Series four kicked off with early morning light and a dismal row of nooses, before Polly, Arthur, John and Michael of the Shelby clan – handed over by the untouchable Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) – were shunted out of their prison cells and escorted to their deaths.

Writer Steven Knight knows how to press his viewers' buttons and we no doubt all let out a big sigh when they were saved by a very late reprieve which stopped the hangings just in time – leaving the Shelby lot traumatised and freeing themselves from the nooses tied around their necks.

Lightening the mood, ever-ambitious Tommy managed to slip in a request for an OBE whilst bargaining for his family's lives.

Following the fateful day of the near-executions, Tommy's saved family went on to lead separate lives for the next year and develop problems of their own.

Michael is nurturing a cocaine habit, Arthur seems way too enthusiastic about a smallholding where he gathers hens' eggs, and Polly is self-medicating with what looks like prescription pills and a lot of wine.

Tommy, on the other hand, is quite enjoying his new normal with little son Charlie, throwing himself into the single life with prostitutes, whisky sours and a whole lot of freedom.

All will soon change for the clan now that Adrien Brody's tattooed baddie character Luca Changretta has arrived, and already sought revenge on John and Michael by dramatically shooting them dead in the last 30 seconds of the brilliant first episode.

Fans of the show seemed more impressed than ever with the opening, with many taking to Twitter to express their opinions.

One tweeted: "Right so BBC 2 seriously expect me to wait a week to watch the next episode after that ending #PeakyBlinders".

Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness said: "So looking forward to seeing Arthur go full berserk mode next week! #PeakyBlinders".

Other fans were devastated with John and Michael's deaths, with another viewer stating: "Me trying to find the reasoning behind that f**king ending to the episode. #PeakyBlinders The Shelbys deserve better."

Someone else added: "If johns dead I will actually kick right off #PeakyBlinders".

Peaky Blinders continues next Wednesday at 9pm on BBC2.