The stock market crash of 1929 is the starting point for the fifth season of “Peaky Blinders”, available on Netflix since Friday and on Arte from October 24. A new season that will plunge viewers into the dark corners of this period of history at the same time as the ever more tormented soul of Birmingham gang leader Tommy Shelby.
A series not so “Made in Birmingham” that it
While the Peaky Blinders rule Birmingham, the series is not just shot in this western English city. Scenes were filmed in Bradford, Dudley, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. A tour was even launched in the latter to allow fans to discover the locations of the shooting.
John Shelby and Michael Gray are brothers in real life
Michael Gray, son of Aunt Polly, is the cousin of Tommy Shelby and his brothers. In real life, his performer Finn Cole is the younger brother of Joe Cole, who played John Shelby between season 1 and 4. Finn Cole did not join the series until Season 2. “It’s cool to have a friend on set,” the actor enthusiastically explained to the “Daily Express”. To have a brother to enjoy off-camera moments too. It was so fantastic.’
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The Shelbys are inspired by the uncles of designer Steven Knight
“One of the stories that really made me want to write “Peaky Blinders” was told to me by my father: when he was 8 or 9 years old, his father handed him a piece of paper and said, “Take this and bring it to your uncles,”” Steven Knight told Extra History. His uncles, the Sheldons, were Birmingham bookmakers who inspired the Shelby clan. “My father ran down the streets barefoot, knocked on the door and when it opened, there were eight very well-dressed men sitting around a table, they were wearing caps and had guns in their pockets. The table was lined with money – at a time when everyone had empty pockets – and they all drank beer in jam jars because these men didn’t spend money on glasses or cups. This image – the smoke, the alcohol and those well-dressed men in the shallows of Birmingham … this is the first one I used to work.”
Thousands of cigarettes smoked per season
There are few scenes in “Peaky Blinders” in which Thomas Shelby does not appear with a cigarette in his beak. His interpreter Cillian Murphy is not a smoker in real life and uses nicotine-free herbal cigarettes on set. Lots of herbal cigarettes, since the actor once asked a team member to count the cigarettes used for a season and the number is astronomical: “3,000”.
Tom Hardy and his wife are on the show
Tom Hardy has made an impression for his portrayal of the violent and unstable London gang leader Alfie Solomons. He appeared on the show in Season 2 at the same time as Charlotte Riley, who has been the British actor’s wife since 2014. She played May Carleton, the owner of a stud farm to which Thomas Shelby entrusted one of her horses and with whom she had an affair.
Annabelle Wallis and her ancestor meet in “Peaky Blinders”
Grace’s voice had the power to calm all Garrison customers, including Tommy Shelby. Its performer Annabelle Wallis also pushes the song and it’s a family affair. “On my father’s side, there was a musical singer named Marie Lloyd who lived in the early 1900s. When I played in “Peaky Blinders, the writers asked me to perform a Song by Mary without knowing that I had a connection with her,” she told “Interview” magazine in 2014 before explaining that she had felt a “strange” feeling of taking a song from one of her ancestors in the series.
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There is a connection between Aunt Polly and… Ozzy Osbourne
. (Their accent). London actress Helen McCrory has trained to emulate the Birmingham accent by watching Ozzy Osbourne’s music videos. The show’s creator Steven Knight told Den of Geek in 2013 that Irishman Cillian Murphy learned the basics of this highly pronounced accent during a “particularly booable” Saturday in the real Garrison pub.
Jason Statham almost starred in the series
Tom Hardy, Aidan Gillen and Adrien Brody are among the guest actors during the seasons of “Peaky Blinders”. Jason Statham almost extended the list. Steven Knight had already shot with him in the film “Crazy Joe” in 2013 and wanted to collaborate again with him in “Peaky Blinders”. But much to the screenwriter’s dismay, the actor could not find a moment in his diary to star in the series.
The Peaky Blinders didn’t really have razor blades in their caps
The real gang of Peaky Blinders entered the legend at the end of the 19th century with the razor blades they sewed into the visor – “peak” in English – of their caps which they used as a weapon to blind – “blind” their opponent of the day. A theory now questioned by historians. According to Carl Chinn, quoted by the Birmingham Mail, the Peaky Blinders simply owed their nickname to the flat visor caps they wore, a piece particularly popular among working-class young men at the time. As for the famous razor blades that supposedly spilled the blood of their rivals, they were considered in the late 1800s as luxury items that the Peaky Blinders could not afford, according to the historian and author of “The Real Peaky Blinders”.
We know when the series will end. After season 5, two more seasons will follow. Steven Knight had previously explained that his ambition was to tell the story of a family during the interwar period, hoping to make three more seasons [seven seasons in all] to complete his work in 1939 when “the first air attack siren” sounded over Birmingham.