Helen McCrory is Aunt Polly

Helen McCroryDescribe the world of Peaky Blinders

The world is Birmingham, 1919, in the back streets where a gang called the Peaky Blinders are the top dogs. Named after caps they have razor blades in. It’s a world, post First World War. Where men are brutalised. Where women for the first time have had power and are having to hand it back to men. Where the local gypsy community is running the races. Where London talks to Birmingham, talks to Leeds, and these gangs are running a new society that was born from the First World War. Where people questioned everything that came from above. No longer was church or government good. The Ulster police were being shipped into this area because an anarchy was going on in the streets. And we play this anarchy and this street life.

Tell us about your character Continue reading ‘Helen McCrory is Aunt Polly’ »

Paul Anderson is Arthur Shelby

Paul AndersonTell us about your character Arthur Shelby

When you first see him, Arthur is head of the family, he’s in charge of what’s going on, described by Sam Neill as the lead pack dog of the Peaky Blinders. It’s interesting because I had a lot of conversations about this and Arthur’s content with the world as it is and the Peaky Blinders as they are. Basically running pubs, running gambling rackets, but his ambition is where it is. I mean he doesn’t want any more. If he can walk into a club, if his name or the Shelby name is enough of an intimidation and a threat to people, then that’s enough for him. He doesn’t have the ambition that Tommy has.

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Annabelle Wallis is Grace Burgess

Annabelle WallisWhat drew you to this project?

The whole idea of it being about this crime family and the romantic ideas of crime like in gangster films and Westerns and all that kind of came to play after reading the script and – it intrigued me. Everyone’s so feisty and strong and so different and so complex. I just fell in love with it straight away.

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I play Grace Burgess. She is the barmaid and love interest. She’s a very Continue reading ‘Annabelle Wallis is Grace Burgess’ »

Sophie Rundle is Ada Shelby

Peaky Blinders Sophie RundleTell us about your character

I play Ada Shelby. She’s the sister of the Peaky Blinder boys and as much as all the boys are these sort of wild, vicious, ruthless characters, she’s a real sort of feral wild child but, because she’s a girl in that time she sort of channels her energy quite differently. Everything that you imagine about the 20s, the flapper girls and the bright young things, Ada kind of embodies a lot of that. She’s part of this new generation with all this energy that’s looking for a change after the First World War. So she’s sort of wild and bright and full of energy.

The women in Peaky Blinders are all very strong

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Steven Knight – writer and creator

Peaky Blinders 3What is Peaky Blinders?

It’s based on real events. My parents, particularly my dad, had these tantalising memories of from when he was nine or 10 years old of these people. They were incredibly well dressed, they were incredibly powerful, they had a lot of money in an area where no one had money and… they were gangsters!

In a way I want Peaky Blinders to be a sort of the view of this world through the eyes of a 10-year-old because the men are smarter and stronger and handsomer and the horses are bigger and everything is big and intimidating as a kid.

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Otto Bathurst – Director

Peaky Blinders 2What drew you to the project?

The first thing that I noticed, and the first thing that everybody notices, is this amazing world that Steve depicted. It felt like a world I’d never seen before, and the level of detail and description in the script was just incredibly alluring.

What was your vision for the show?

I had no interest in making was a historical drama. I had no interest in just sort of rewinding the clock, and telling you what it was like in 1919. I was passionate that this should be lit and shot in exactly the same way as if this story was completely contemporary. Once I took off the shackles of historical accuracy, then you kind of go ‘cool’ now we can have some real fun here we can make a really cool show.

Quite early on in the process, I remember the opening line of Goodfellas which is ‘From as far back as I remember, I always wanted to be a gangster’ and that for me, became this project. It was about creating this world that as a viewer you just want to go there and want to be in this gang.

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Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders: exclusive first look


BBC2′s epic new gangster drama, Peaky Blinders, is set in Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s. Cillian Murphy plays Thomas Shelby, leader of local gang the Peaky Blinders (so-called for sewing razorblades into the peaks of their caps), who find themselves in pursuit of a crate of guns, battling police, the government, the IRA and communist revolutionaries along the way.
In this exclusive first-look clip, Shelby reveals the gang’s black-market betting ring.
Peaky Blinders comes to BBC2 this autumn