The Birmingham-based hit gangster show ‘Peaky Blinders’ first aired in 2013 and immediately captured the public’s imagination. Since then, visitors to Birmingham have spiked as eager fans follow the footsteps of the infamous Peaky Blinders gang.


We went to Birmingham to see what the locals really thought of the show. What impact do they think it’s had on the city?


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Set in Birmingham in the aftermath of World War I, ‘Peaky Blinders’ is based on the infamous gang, supposedly named after their trick of sewing razor-blades into their peaked flat caps to use as weapons. The show depicts the murky yet glamorous underworld of gang life in a violence-ridden, poverty-stricken post-war Birmingham.


It follows the family feuds and territorial jostlings of the Peaky Blinders gang, headed up by their smooth-talking leader, Tommy Shelby. The show’s suave manoeuvrings, witty one-liners, and dapper style have made for a compelling view of Birmingham’s history. Although some plotlines and details are manufactured for dramatic effect, even some historians have given the show a thumbs up.


Today, the city offers everything from a Peaky Blinders-themed speakeasy to city tours where you can walk in the footsteps of the fictional gangster Tommy Shelby, and even immersive theatrical festivals in the gang’s stomping-ground of Digby.


Birmingham canal


A peak at this blinder of a city

Many people will imagine Birmingham as it was in the 1970s when its brutalist architecture and constant congestion lead to it being called ‘London’s ugly sister.’


With the arrival of big banks like Deutsche Bank, the planned HS2 rail link, and the ‘Big City Plan’, Birmingham is shedding its industrial image and is now regarded as a centre of art and innovation. ‘Peaky Blinders’ has helped paint a picture of the gritty, criminal sub-history of this great, emerging city that today teems with Michelin star restaurants, a vibrant cultural scene, and a jam-packed social calendar.


Now is an exciting time to hop on a Virgin Train to Birmingham and experience the city’s intrigue, both past and present. If you’ve been tantalised by the world of ‘Peaky Blinders’, take a trip and experience the action for yourself.

Back to Birmingham

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