Peaky Blinders is a hugely popular historical crime drama from the BBC, but where did the titular gang get their distinctive name and what does it mean? Steven Knight is a writer who started his career working with famed British comedian Jasper Carrott on shows like sitcom The Detectives, before moving into gritty movies like Dirty Pretty Things and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises. He’s also directed a few films, including Jason Statham drama Hummingbird and 2019’s baffling guilty pleasure Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.
Steven Knight also created TV series Peaky Blinders, which is arguably his most acclaimed work. The series debuted in 2013 and revolves around the title gang and their ambitious leader Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) in post World War I Birmingham. Peaky Blinders mixes fact and faction and has proven addictive, must-see TV. This can be seen by the impressive range of actors who’ve joined the show in later seasons, including Tom Hardy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Adrien Brody.
Peaky Blinders has run for five seasons so far, and Knight has stated it will wrap up with season 7. The show and its gang are based on the real-life Peaky Blinders gang, with the first reference being made to the group coming after a vicious assault in Birmingham in 1890, with those responsible sending letters to national press and calling themselves the “Small Heath Peaky Blinders.”
The Peaky Blinders gang were known for being especially violent and were willing to attack police, rival gangs and civilians alike. The gang was largely comprised of working-class youth and they indulged in everything from robbery to extortion and murder. There’s some debate over how the group came to be known as “Peaky Blinders,” with a popular theory being that the flat caps they wore were stitched with razors blades in the peak, which could blind someone with a headbutt.
This has been largely debunked, however, with professor Carl Chinn beliving the first part of Peaky Blinders refers to the flat cap they all wore, while the “blinder” refers to their famous sense of style. While Peaky Blinders itself is set to end with season 7, Steven Knight has also spoken of a potential movie spinoff, which would likely revolve around World War 2. There’s still some way to go before work begins on a potential movie, and there’s no guarantee Tommy will survive to be the main character if one does move ahead.