I still haven’t got round to watching either of the two episodes so far, but thanks to the Brummed Out blog I do know where the name came from. According to this post, the Peaky Blinders were a real Brummie gang who had a neat line in blinding their opponents during fights. I never realised the uses you could put a razor blade to.
I’ve also discovered, thanks to an interview with series star Cillian Murphy in the Radio Times, that the whole thing was filmed not in Birmingham but in Liverpool, because (according to one of his answers) ‘Birmingham was so badly bombed in the second world war that there’s nothing left from 1919’.
I can only assume Mr Murphy has never been within 100 miles of Birmingham, because this simply isn’t true. In fact, Liverpool was much more heavily bombed during the war, and suffered much more damage, with whole areas near the docks laid waste. Birmingham was also bombed, but got off relatively lightly in comparison, and has mostly escaped the clutches of the post-war modernist town planners. Hence suburb after suburb retains street after street of Victorian and Edwardian housing, and even in the city centre nineteenth century buildings outnumber those from the twentieth century.
My inner cynic suggests that the series was filmed in Liverpool because the production team received grants to do so, because to say that nothing remains of Edwardian Birmingham is quite frankly bonkers. You only have to go to Moseley, Kings Heath, Acocks Green or Harborne to realise that. Or Cotteridge, or Stirchley, or Selly Oak, or Handsworth, or… okay, I’ll shut up now.
::Mutters:: Hockley. Bearwood. Kings Norton. Sorry, sorry, going. Going now.
::Mumbles:: Digbeth. Sparkbrook. Sparkhill.
Okay, I’ve stopped. Really I have.
::Whispers:: Not to mention Small Heath, where the whole thing is supposed to be set in the first place…