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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders is back for its fourth and possibly most blood thirsty season yet. Steven Knight is certainly pulling no punches, and it looks as though Tommy isn’t even safe from his own family. To tide you over until the next episode, we’ve got 11 things you didn’t know about the hit series.
1 | This one story inspired Steven Knight to write the series
Knight claims his family were part of the Peaky Blinders, although they were called the Sheldon’s instead of the Shelbys, and it was stories that his father told him as a child that would inspire for series.
Speaking to HistoryExtra, he said this was the one that started it: “One of the stories that really made me want to write Peaky Blinders is one my dad told me. He said that when he was eight or nine his dad gave him a message on a piece of paper and said ‘go and deliver this to your uncles.’ His uncles were the Sheldons, who eventually became the Shelbys.”
Although he never did go on to elaborate what was written on that note…
2 | Billy Kimber and Darby Sabini were actual gangsters
Tommy Shelby might be fictional, but Billy Kimber and Darby Sabini were very much alive and active.
Billy Kimber was a bookie running racecourses the length of the UK, and he achieved Tommy’s goal of dying a legitimate businessman. Although it turns out Kimber actually died in a nursing home in Torquay aged 63 – not at the hand of a Shelby.
Sabini was one of Kimber’s rivals and is also the inspiration for Colleoni in Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock.
3 | The Peaky Blinders would have served in WW1
In the series, you see flashbacks of Tommy as a tunneler in WW1 along with Danny “Whizz-Bang”. Danny even earns his nickname “whizz-bang” after the noise of German artillery shells.
Members of the Peaky Blinders did actually serve in the war – the youngest member of the gang, Henry Fowler, was even buried alive in the trenches and couldn’t speak or see for sometime following the war.
4 | Snoop Dogg is a massive fan
It’s well documented that David Bowie was a massive fan of the show. Cillian sent him a flat cap from the show, and you might have noticed the fitting tribute to him in series 3 when Tommy appears in a hospital bed similar to that of Bowie’s music video Lazarus.
But it turns out Snoop Dogg loves the show so much he called a 3 hour meeting with Knight to chat about gang culture.
Speaking at Esquire Townhouse Knight said: “We spent like three hours in St Martin’s Lane Hotel just building joints and he’s talking about how the show reminds him of how he got into gang culture.”
5 | The Shelbys can’t escape hell
The Shelbys needn’t worry about going to hell because according to series one director Colm McCarthy, they are already there. You might remember those fireballs you kept seeing on the way to the Garrison? These aren’t just a feature of a bygone area, it was deliberate says Colm.
Speaking to Den Of Geek, he said: “The first time that we see The Garrison, we have this huge fireball. The next time we go there, Tommy is there and he’s got a flame whooshing behind him. We open that shot on fire, and then we end the episode with Tommy in that deep angle with that flame going in the background and he’s in a pit. Absolutely, there’s definitely a sense of hell. That’s very deliberate.”
6 | The “Blinders” didn’t really have razor blades sewn into their caps
Legend has it the Peaky Blinders earned their name because they sewed razor blades into their caps to blind their victims. However, it’s more likely that the Peaky Blinders blinding weapon of choice would have been belts and their steel capped shoes.
Razor blades were only just becoming available in the UK after the war and would have been expensive to get hold of. The razor blades are thought to have been inspired by John Douglas’ novel A Walk Down Summer Lane – a notorious Birmingham street, for the uninitiated.
7 | Helen McCrory has Ozzy Osbourne to thank for her Brummie accent
McCrory was dreading the Peaky Blinders Birmingham premier because of her Birmingham accent which took a while to nail.
In fact, the actor said Aunt Polly has the Black Sabbath frontman to thank for her Birmingham accent, as part of her preparation for her role was watching “endless” videos of him.
8 | Jason Statham could have been in it
After Knight worked with Statham on Redemption, he was keen to have him onboard – although he never said what role he had in mind.
However, Knight said to Den Of Geek that Statham was so committed elsewhere, they wouldn’t have been able to make the shooting schedules match up.
9 | Michael Gray has his brother to thank for his role
You might know that that Michael Gray (Finn Cole) and John Shelby (Joe Cole) are brothers IRL, but Fin actually has Joe to thank for the part.
Fin was studying for his A Levels at the time and didn’t even have the train fare to get to Birmingham for the open auditions. Joe, who had already been cast, suggested he tape an audition which he passed on to the casting directors.
10 | Despite all that talk of Small Heath, the majority of the show is actually shot in Liverpool
Birmingham has changed so much there isn’t that resembles the Birmingham that the Blinders would have operated in, so instead the series is shot in Toxeth, Liverpool.
The bits that are shot in Birmingham, are filmed at the Black Country Museum – an open air museum of rebuilt historic buildings from around the Midlands.
11 | Knight has already said when the series will end
The series will call it a day when the air raid sirens of WW2 sound.