With the fifth season just around the corner, in Spain we will be able to enjoy it on October 4 from the hand of Netflix, we bring you a list of the 10 curiosities that you did not know about ‘Peaky Blinders’ , the cult series by Steven Knight .
1. Who were the Peaky Blinders?
The answer is not entirely clear. Some point out that “Peaky Blinder” was a generic term to refer to the young gang members of Birmingham during the First World War. Also called “sloggers”, West Midlands Police described them as “foul-mouthed youths who stalk the streets in drunken groups, insulting and attacking passers-by”.
Historians like Philip Gooderson assure that the Peaky Blinders existed as such and began to expand at the end of the 19th century . Some prominent members, and of which the arrest record consists, David Taylor, Earnest Haynes or Harry “Baby Face” Howles, who curiously appears during one of the episodes of the series as an orphan boy.
In any case, the Shelby family is entirely fictional . Thomas Shelby, the protagonist of the fiction, is the only one that has a certain parallelism with a real character, Billy Kimber.
Profile of some members of the ‘Peaky Blinders’. | Birmingham Mail.
2. The Royal Characters
In the fiction, Billy Kimber is one of the antagonists of the first season, controlling much of the legal race betting business, until he is shot in the head by Thomas Shelby. In reality, Kimber was one of the most dangerous gangsters in Birmingham and the UK , forming alliances with smaller organizations such as the Hoxton Gang and the Castle Mob. He died at the age of 63 after a long illness.
It is also known that Charles “Darby” Sabini was one of Kimber’s rivals . The son of Italian immigrants, he formed his own criminal gang and came to dominate the London slums. His power and influence began to wane after World War II.3.
3. Where does the name Peaky Blinders come from?
As we have noted, it is believed that the Peaky Blinder was a generic term to refer to the street gangs of Birmingham, although some claim that the gang got its name from the typical English flat visors, also called “peakys” . Carl Chinn goes further and assures that the name is due to the practice of sewing razor blades to the edge of the caps, which they used as weapons.
4. How many cigarettes does Thomas Shelby smoke?
If you are a smoker and you are hooked on ‘Peaky Blinders’, you may have realized that watching the Steven Knight series does not help you quit smoking. Its protagonists, and especially Thomas Shelby, smoke like authentic chimneys, specifically about 3,000 cigarettes per season. Those of you who are suffering from CIllian Murphy’s lung should know that the cigarettes that the actor smokes are herbal and do not contain tobacco or nicotine.
Thomas Shelby smoking in ‘Peaky Blinders’. | BBC.
5. Two actors are brothers in real life
Few brothers in real life have the opportunity to be brothers in a series as well. Joe Cole (John Shelby) and Finn Cole (Michael Gray) can feel lucky. Although both had made their first steps on television before, their role in ‘Peaky Blinders’ has launched them into the media spotlight.
6. Where did the idea for the series come from?
Steven Knight is one of television’s most prolific authors. Although he was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay for ‘Hidden Business’, his most recognized work is ‘Peaky Blinders’. Before making the series, he was researching for some time and discovered that some of his direct relatives were criminals from Birmingham .
In an interview with ‘Slate’, Steven Knight declared that the series was a very personal project: “’Peaky’ is a very personal thing for me because it is based on stories that my parents told me when I was little.”. Apparently, Knight’s father told him that when he was eight years old, his grandfather made him send a message to his aunt. When he arrived he saw several men at a table covered in money, dressed smartly and with guns on the table.
7. David Bowie was a big fan of the series
. It is not strange that celebrities get hooked on the series -after all, they are people of flesh and blood- but in the case of David Bowie, he had an excellent relationship with the showrunner . Knight paid tribute to Bowie in the third season , when the protagonist appears in a hospital bed very similar to the one in the video for ‘Lazarus’.
Other greats in the industry such as Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Steven Spielberg have declared themselves unconditional fans of fiction.
8. Most of the series is filmed in Liverpool
Although the plot takes place in Birmingham, most of the series is filmed on the streets of Liverpool, a city that retains that decadent and gray atmosphere of the Second Industrial Revolution. Powis Street stands out – easily recognizable as the main street of Small Heath – and other locations such as Rodney Street or Stanley Dock. Tommy and Grace’s iconic mansion is actually Arley Hall, in Cheshire County.
Powis Street in Liverpool. | Google Maps.
9. The connection of ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’
A series is not much if the pilot episode does not convince. In the case of this, the first chapter has the signature of the director Ott Bathurst, who also signs the first of ‘Black Mirror’ entitled The National Anthem.
10. ‘Red Right Hand’, the central theme of the series
Anyone who has seen the series will highlight its brutal soundtrack, composed by British bands and artists such as PJ Harvey, Artic Monkeys, Royal Blood or Frank Carter. However, if there is a song that represents Small Heat, it is Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ , a 1994 single that has become popular again thanks to the Steven Knight series.
The song references a John Milton poem titled ‘Paradise Lost’, which in turn speaks of the vengeful side of God. ‘Red Right Hand’ has been covered in the series many times and in season 5 we will find that of the British Anna Calvi, who recently shared a photo in the studio with Nick Cave.
- You can also read: The 10 locations of ‘Peaky Blinders’.