#CurrentlyWatching: Peaky Blinders

Let’s continue with this week’s theme of “family business“, but with a show vastly different from Dynasty. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me gush about it all of last week and that show is Peaky Blinders!

I joined in quite late, considering that the show premiered in 2013 and already has 4 seasons available, but then again, I am really glad I could binge it all in a short amount of time, instead of waiting a year or more between season (seriously, Season 5 won’t be out until 2019 and I am dying a little bit inside, but am also super grateful the show continues). Peaky Blinders is made by the BBC, but is also available on Netflix in most territories as far as I know.

**Please ignore that the official BBC speaker pronounces Cillian as Sillian, because it is Killian and I am ashamed for them**

Set in the early 1920s, Peaky Blinders chronicles the life of the infamous gang by the same name run by the ambitious and ruthless Shelby family.

While the Peaky Blinders as a gang really did exist, the show has no claim on being factually correct whatsoever. Whereas the series starts in 1919, the real Peaky Blinders operated from around 1890-1920 and would have most likely been extinct by the time the show begins. There is no proof of any of the characters having existed (except maybe some of the opponent crime bosses) and the razors the gang has sown into their caps were a luxury product at the time that probably not even the Peaky Blinders could have afforded. So, I personally do not care about any of these things at all, but some people might want to know that this is not based on real history. I always saw it as a pure work of fiction to begin with.

Right from the get go, I quite enjoyed the family dynamic of the Shelbys. Whereas the family business, in this case a buzzing gambling den, is usually run by the eldest sibling, it is Thomas Shelby (the middle child) everyone looks to. None of the brothers have come home from the war the way they left for France, but he has taken up the responsibility to care for his family and to get them the life he thinks they deserve for their service to their country – by whatever means necessary.

Thomas Shelby is a complex character and I love him all the more for it. Is he a good man? Debatable for sure. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that he always has good intentions in mind, because it wouldn’t be the truth. People fear him, but they also adore him. He provides protection, but at the same time he is often the reason people need protection to begin with. Whatever he does, it always feels like a two-edged sword. He wants to go legit, but in the end there is always one more thing to do, one last heist, one last mission. I am not sure he would actually be able to be content with a life in peace if it was right in front of him.

Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Thomas is perfection in my eyes. He has no problem showing his callous and ruthless side, he can turn on the charm and self-confidence that is required to navigate certain situations, but there is also an underlying vulnerability and endless sadness to him. All this affects his every relationship at one point or another and shows how broken war has left him.

Women were at a clear disadvantage in the 1920s, however, I appreciate that there is an element of progressiveness among the Peaky Blinders. Women’s issues are discussed, equality is at least attempted and it is in no way implied that they are just damsels in distress that need to be saved and protected all the time. Women have their own head in this show and oftentimes sneakily manipulate the men in their small ways. I am not saying that the female representation is perfect, but considering the time period it is set in, I certainly enjoyed the direction they decided to go in.

There is no denying that the show can go quite dark and violent. I suppose that is part of the whole ogranised crime topic we are dealing with. However, it also handles topics such as mental health and PTSD in particular. Considering how little regard there was given to mental health issues at the time, I always find it interesting to see how people dealt with it. There is a lot of emotional trauma to deal with throughout the series and they constantly managed to break my heart.

All in all, I hold Peaky Blinders in high regard. It has most stellar acting in all roles, be it the main casting or supporting characters. The setting is not one you see on TV every day and even throughout several seasons, it never seizes to amaze me in terms of intricacies of the plot and characters. Also, one final shout out to all the epic walking scenes on that show. You should never underestimate how difficult it is to walk normal or cool while being filmed.

So, by the order of the Peaky Blinders, I command you to watch this show. Just kidding! But if you do think this one is for you, check it out and tell me what you think!


48 thoughts on “#CurrentlyWatching: Peaky Blinders

    Agree with everything you say of course. The acting is phenomenal it truly is. One person we haven’t personally discussed in our chats about our love with Peaky Blinders is Aunt Polly, I really liked her especially in the first season. I kept loving how she as so feisty and was reminding the boys she kept the business afloat whilst they were at war. She can be as bad as they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you love it, because I know how much you share my passion with this show ❀
      Aunt Polly is such an integral part of the cast. The boys would have been lost A LONG TIME ago without her. I liked her a little less in season 4, but that was my own fault for doubting her. Btw, do you think Michael will come back in Season 5? He's doing really well with Animal Kingdom, so I am not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really hope he does come back. I think they could offer him a good storyline to come back. Still can’t believe about John . I just never want any to go πŸ˜‚

        Did you know their brothers in real life? John and Finn?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was SO shocked about John. I love Joe Cole, so I was just really sad. And I did know they had the same last name, but I had no idea they were brothers! That’s so cool πŸ˜€ (for a second I thought you meant Finn on the show and not Finn Cole and I was veeeery confused hahaha)


  2. I don’t think this show could ever be for me or that I will watch it, but I have to say that I love reading all of your currently watching posts and you make me want to watch everything, even the shows I know aren’t for me, haha. I love how complex the characters seem in that one, they really seem interesting to follow and I’m glad to hear that, despite the time period, women are not left out or taken as damsels in distress or something, ahah πŸ™‚
    Great post, Kat! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do really want to watch this and it’s good to know about it being a work of fiction (I always assume that with most shows anyway) The characters in this sound ridiculously complex which I love. The only thing that’s putting me off right now is how dark it is- I just have to be in the right mood for that. It’s really good that it’s so well done though!!

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  4. Kat, why do you always make me want to watch everything you’re watching? It’s too much, I can’t handle all these tv shows and movies. But this one looks absolutely great, I’m absolutely tempted. I’m so happy that they are including women that aren’t damsels in distress and yap, I might check it out. I hate you *I don’t*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent review, Kat! I have loved this series for over two years now… I haven’t read the latest season, because for some reason whenever I try to watch the new episodes I always find them boring and too slow-paced. I used to love that aspect of the series, but lately I’ve been constantly in the mood for a more fast-paced series. But I remember how high quality and beautifully good this series is ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I totally get it. It is a very slow-paced show and sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for it. I watched it all in one go, so that probably helped a lot. If there had been a break in between seasons, I might have felt differently. Anyway, the last season was formidable! Adrien Brody made a great opponent and it was the first one that didn’t end on a massive cliffhanger, so that was also nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the post, Kat! Nailed it. I personally started this show because I heard in the grapevine that Tom Hardy was in it, and that is probably the easiest lure for me hahah Turns out that I still absolutely love the dude’s acting as he nails it here as Mr. Solomons!!! What’s even better is that I ended up loving the show for everyone else too. That’s definitely a nice indicator of a GREAT show! πŸ˜€ Can’t wait for the next season, and wonderful post again, Kat! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am probably not even kidding when I say that I would sell my soul for Thomas Shelby. I have made THREE portraits of him and I even attempted a fourth. There is no salvation for me anymore hahaha I am forever part of the Peaky Blinders now. And morally grey is really the best way to describe him. He is enigmatic and you cannot help but fall for him, while at the same time he can be mighty scary.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have been meaning to watch this show for so, so long!! I’ve only heard good stuff about it and seeing it on your blog really made me want to finally start watching… Love the idea, the setting, the storyline, the characters- everything sounds so cool!! Great post πŸ’›

    Liked by 1 person

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