Peaky Blinders: BBC show’s heartbreaking inspiration from a ‘Birmingham long gone’ exposed | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV
Steven Knight gave insight into the creation of Peaky Blinders during an episode of the BBC film review podcast ‘Obsessed with…’ last year.
The crime drama wasn’t the first hit for the screenwriter who previously co-created ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ and more.
He recalled wanting to avoid the “typical British period drama” approach while making ‘Peaky Blinders’ and wanted to show “working class people that are in control of their destiny”.
Stories about the real gangs were told to him by his parents who he claimed “glamorised” accounts from their childhood, which he then “doubly mythologised it” for the show.
Mr Knight explained that his father’s interactions with the travelling community gave him a lot of inspiration for the show.
He was a blacksmith who was forced to work in the factories to support his family of seven – later in the Seventies he returned to his first “love horses and that way of life”.
Regularly Mr Knight’s father would offer to take his sons to work with him, rather than attend school – an opportunity they regularly relished.
He explained: “He’d take us mostly to riding stables and stuff, which was fine, and we’d help out, I’d be turning the handle on the forge and all that.
“But often we’d go into scrap metal yards in Birmingham, where my dad knew a lot of the [travellers] who ran that trade.
“I’d go in there and the iron gates would open… my dad had all his connections with these [traveller] people and they called themselves ‘Didcoy people’.
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“You’d be going into all of these scrap yards and see this amazing stuff, some of it was stolen and they were just so funny.”
Mr Knight fondly remembered these memories and later, when his brother took-over the family business, he returned to visit the travelling community.
This time Cillian Murphy accompanied him and was taught how to ride a horse bareback by a 12-year-old boy who lived there.
The screenwriter claimed there was a certain magic about their world and the lives they led, which heavily influenced the show.
Mr Knight added: “It was like glimpsing a Birmingham that had gone and I used that a lot to try to get the feeling for what Peaky [Blinders] is.”
Despite the travelling community serving as muse for Mr Knight’s writing, he revealed that they would never watch the programme for an unusual reason.