The Peaky Blinders Are Reviving Birmingham Of the 1920s
The city of Birmingham is at the centre of the hit TV series Peaky Blinders. That tells the story of the gang of the same name. The founder and leader of the Shelby family are Tommy Shelby and his brothers. He acts as the head of the gang and leads it with his brothers Arthur and John. Her aunt Elisabeth, known as Polly Gray, a born Shelby, acts in the background. The gang acts ruthlessly and brutally. The series illuminates the daily life of gangs, which has had to deal with numerous competitors in England and the USA throughout history.
Steven Knight takes us through the England of the 1920s with powerful images, authentic furnishings and excitement. The mood is a bit reminiscent of a western. The numerous slow-motion scenes and the action scenes could well have come from a Quentin Tarantino film. Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi and the White Stripes dominate the soundtrack. The film was not only shot in Birmingham but also Leeds and Liverpool.
The Gang Existed
But the story is not just pure fiction. The Peaky Blinders existed. But they were already operating 30 years before the events of the series around 1890. The producers delivered their name from the flat caps they also wear in the TV series. The content model for the series heroes were the Brummagem Boys, who controlled horse betting around 1920. The notorious razor blades sewn into the cap wheel of the flat caps were probably just an invention of the authors. After all, these were in short supply at the time and simply too expensive. The real Peaky Blinders were a youth gang, while their actors on the series are already grown men. The historical gangsters committed more minor crimes. Their influence never extended beyond the city limits of Birmingham.
So fiction and reality were cleverly interwoven in the series. History shows that the Peaky Blinders did not descend from a Roma clan. The family is a pure invention of the author. However, some of the people featured on the show existed. It was Billy Kimber, Alfie Solomon and Charles Sabini. But what they have in common is limited to the story period of the series. Peaky Blinders doesn’t take the truth very seriously.
Winston Churchill was Home Secretary in the UK until 1910 and not just after the First World War. At that time, Santa Claus was still called Father Christmas, and Rudolph, the reindeer, was not even known in the 1920s. But apart from that, the creators managed to paint an atmospheric picture of that time. The rise and fall of the Shelby family, who dominated the Peaky Blinders, takes place in the post-war period. The IRA is emerging as a determining power in Ireland; union strikes and the fear of communism shape the picture. Birmingham has seldom been as fantastic to watch in a movie as it is in Peaky Blinders.