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The Shelbys

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/p05mgs11.jpg
(left to right) Esme, John, Isiah, Ada, Arthur, Tommy, Polly, Michael, Lizzie, Finn, and Linda.
Tropes that apply to them as a family, or to the whole family.
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  • A House Divided: Most notably in seasons one, four and five, where the conflict of Tommy versus a member of the family (first Ada, then Polly, then Michael) is highlighted.
  • Badass Family
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family
  • Cartwright Curse: It's probably a bad idea to become involved with a Shelby. If your life hasn't been ruined (like Lizzie, Linda, and Esme), you're about to end up dead (like Grace, Campbell, Freddie, Luca, Ben, or Aberama).
  • The Clan
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: All the Shelby boys loved their mother (barring maybe Finn, who doesn't remember her) and do not take it very well when some Lee boys refers to her as a whore.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming/Knight Templar Big Brother: The Shelbys don't always treat each other well, but God save you if a non-family member hurts anyone.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: All of the Shelby boys also have them, but Tommy's get the most attention (belonging to, you know, Cillian Murphy). Michael has them as well, specifically marking him as a Shelby.
  • In the Blood: Extra-legal activities, gambling, and violence seem to be common in the Shelby family.
    Tommy: I think you're the first Shelby in history to have a legal license for anything. What would our granddad say, eh? He'd turning in his grave—"Honest bloody money? Eh? In this house? Here?"
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    • A love of horses too—shared by Tommy, Arthur, and Michael.
  • Nouveau Riche: Season 2 has the Shelbys as this, learning to navigate in the world outside Birmingham. With their jump into high society in season 3, the question becomes "how much can you really change your own nature?", if you have all the money in the world and none of the respect.
  • Siblings in Crime: Well, siblings plus an aunt. After you add a cousin and some sisters-in-law to the mix, it's more The Family That Slays Together.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: They may not exactly treat women right, but they draw the line at physically assaulting them - when a woman who is being beaten by her husband comes to the Shelby's to compensate her for her dead birds he killed, it's pretty clear they are not best pleased and assure her the husband will be dealt with, even if she insists she doesn't care about the beatings.
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    Tommy 

Thomas "Tommy" Michael Shelby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tommyshelby.jpg
"Watch Thomas. I know how he is, but he does what he does for us… I think."
(Played by Cillian Murphy.)

"Now it is Tommy that has brought strength and power to this family. 'Cause he knows, you have to be as bad as them above an order to survive."
Aunt Polly to Ada

The second of the Shelby brothers, Thomas is nevertheless The Don of the Shelby family and the Peaky Blinders.

  • Action Dad: As of season three.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Tommy, in varying degrees, to John, Ada, and Arthur (even though Arthur is older than him).
  • Bad Dreams/Catapult Nightmare: He suffers from them frequently, thanks to PTSD from WWI.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: In 3.06, Charles' kidnapping pushes Tommy over the edge into believing that it was Polly, Michael, Linda, or Esme who betrayed him. It was none of them, but he doubles-down at the end of the episode and has Arthur, Michael, John, and Polly arrested, convinced that the "deal" he's supposedly made with more powerful people than their enemies will save them.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening his family is a big one, especially Finn, Ada and Charles.
    • He also has a hatred of animals being mistreated - Jessie recounts an anecdote about a younger Tommy who witnessed a man beating his horse. Tommy fought the man and won, despite being smaller, then proceeded to beat him with his own whip. Tommy smiles at the memory.
    • Does not like it when people forget that he is the one in charge.
  • Brains and Brawn: He is the brains to Arthur's brawn.
  • Benevolent Boss: One of the more likable things about him is that he actually seems to value his followers.
    • For the most part, he is this to his domestic staff as well.
  • Big Brother Instinct: For Finn, as it's Finn nearly getting killed when they were aiming for Tommy that convinces him to make peace with the Lees.
    • He also his this towards his younger sister, Ada, and he spends quite a lot of money in Season Two to keep her safe in London by buying her her own house.
  • Byronic Hero: A villainous example. Brooding, cunning and very charismatic but also cynical, troubled, and a destructive force to those around him.
  • Character Tics: Tommy has a tendency to rub his lip with his cigarette before he lights it. Cillian Murphy explained when asked about this that initially, he did it because the prop-cigarettes had their filter cut off, so the paper would stick to his lip if he didn't moisten them, but then it eventually evolved into a quirk of Tommy's.
    • He also tends to wag his finger at people when telling them off, particularly his brothers.
  • The Chessmaster: Tommy manipulates everyone, and there are few people inside or outside the family that do not find themselves caught in his plans.
  • Chick Magnet: No matter how intimidating or stoic Tommy can be, women just seem to fall at his feet, whether they want to or not. He exploits this when it comes to Tatiana and Jessie.
  • Cold Ham: Particularly when he wants to out-crazy an opponent.
  • Commonality Connection: With Jessie Eden, both of them having lost their first love under painful circumstances, with Greta Jarossi who died of tuberculosis just before the war while Tommy could do nothing but watch, while Jessie's childhood sweetheart came back from the war with such severe PTSD that he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
    • Like May, he loves horses and often finds himself feeling bored by the relatively shallow, simple people around him and craves excitement.
  • Complexity Addiction: To be fair, Tommy's plans usually involve Xanatos Speed Chess out of necessity, but it doesn't change the fact that he enjoys playing with the lives of others.
  • Control Freak: Tommy enjoys playing with the lives of other people and flips out whenever his authority to run his gang (and subsequently, his family’s lives) is called into question. That being said, often times when he does trust people with tasks, they often don't carry them out properly and it causes way more problems, a big example being when he told John and Arthur to deal with the Changrettas after John blinded Angel. Instead of doing as he asked, they make the situation ten times worse by deliberately antagonising them, or Michael ignoring Tommy's instructions in New York and losing almost all their money in the stock market crash.
  • Cursed With Awesome/Blessed With Suck: His actor states that Tommy's vast intelligence mean that it's difficult for him to relate to other people because he's often several steps ahead of them and he gets bored talking to them.
  • Dating Catwoman: Falls for Grace, a spy for the police, in season one. Ends up marrying her in season three.
    • He also gets together with Jessie Eden in Season Four, as part of his plan to find the members of her party and sell them out to parliament.
  • Deadpan Snarker: With a gun to his head, even.
  • The Don: Of the Shelby clan. He gains this position because he's good at it, despite not being the eldest brother.
  • The Dreaded: Tommy has undertones of this to the residents of Birmingham. Most notably in the very first episode, before we even see him, the people of Chinatown are seen scattering in terror as news spreads that Thomas Shelby is riding down the street towards them.
    Tommy: It's not a good idea to look at Tommy Shelby the wrong way.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Father Hughes disgusts him so much he can't even eat in the same room with him.
    • It's deconstructed later, when Alfie Solomons throws it in his face that Tommy is by any objective metric a terrible person and that does not have the right to act like he has boundaries after all the horrible things he has done. Though admittedly Alfie can hardly talk, either.
    • When he and Polly confront some abusive nuns who have been receiving funding from the Grace Shelby Foundation, their disgust at the nuns mistreatment of the children in their care is evident, including how they treated black children. Tommy draws the line at child abuse and racism.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Possibly. He makes disparaging comments about Polly and Ada running the business now that he and the men are back from World War I, but this might be more because he thinks he personally should be in charge rather than he thinks men in general should be. When his own sovereignty is not being challenged, he's respectful of Polly and Ada's abilities, and speaks to them in exactly the way he does to male members of the family, also treating female employees similarly to male ones. The way the earlier conversations actually play out, Tommy doesn’t seem to question the women’s competence, he just wants to be in charge, and his war buddies employed. His takeover seems to have very little do gender competence.
    • He also appears to be well ahead of his time in his attitude to gay people; in Season 2, Ada offhandedly outs one of her housemates as gay to him while the man is standing right there, much to the man's dismay and fear (since homosexuality is a criminal offense at this time). Tommy politely introduces himself, says it's a pleasure to meet him, and shakes his hand. It's also arguable the city has a thriving gay prostitution industry. It's just more secretive and not discussed in the story. He does blackmail a journalist who starts asking him intrusive questions by pointedly mentioning he knows he is often in the company of other men, but that's because back then it would be career suicide to be an open homosexual, not because Tommy himself feels any personal disgust on the matter.
    • One of Tommy's best friends outside his family is Jeremiah, a Jamaican street preacher who he fought with in WWI. Jeremiah's son Isaac is also a valued member of the gang.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Often his ruthlessness is because he must nip problems in the bud before they grow into serious threats that will threaten both his family and business. In Season Three, he orders the deaths of the Changrettas after Grace is shot, which John and Arthur are none too happy about as that includes their former schoolteacher. They defy Tommy's orders and let her go, which bites them in the ass when Luca Changretta arrives in Season Four and manages to kill John, with information provided to him by Mrs. Changretta.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's implied his deadbeat father walking out on the family, his childhood sweetheart dying of tuberculosis and his experiences in WWI have a lot to do with his desire for power.
  • Freudian Trio: Tommy is the Ego, to Arthur's Id and John's Superego.
  • Functional Addict: In season 1, he's an opium addict to cope with what he saw in WWI. He does it at night before going to bed, so he's sober again by morning, and he functions quite well. He seems to have dropped the habit by the time season 2 picks up, but relapses in 3.05 after his skull fracture requires the use of morphine and opium. He breaks the habit a few months later.
  • Has a Type: Barring Grace, all the women Tommy has been romantically involved with have been somewhat tall, pale-skinned brunettes.
  • Heartbroken Badass: For most of season 2, at least until Grace shows up again. Comes back with a vengeance after Grace is killed. He outright admits in Season One he already is one, since his First Love died before he joined the war.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Tommy recounts to Jessie Eden in an anecdote that his mother once beat him with a frying pan when he was a kid for spending the weekly shopping money on a pineapple and a top hat. He doesn't seem disturbed by the memory.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: It's been pointed out that Tommy is as self-loathing and self-sabotaging as he is brilliant, making things worse with what he believes is the right course of action.
    Polly: Your mother always said, "it's his cleverness that'll kill him".
  • Hypocrite:
    • He's more than happy to encourage Arthur's worse impulses if it means he can use him as a heavy-hitter in his own gang related endeavors. But when his brother really starts to lose control and get more and more irrationally violent, finally culminating in him having a fit and accidentally killing somebody in a bare-knuckle boxing match, Thomas more or less tells him that he doesn't have time to deal with his brother's problems right now, and to man up and put his wartime experience behind him like he has. It's even more hypocritical as the audience knows that Thomas has used opium and prostitutes in the past to deal with his own war memories, so Thomas hasn't really put things 'behind' him himself.
    • He calls Alfie Solomons out for playing a part in his son's kidnapping, claiming that involving his child was going too far. In Series Five, he all but threatens to murder Michael's unborn baby if it turns out that he is lying about betraying him, though given that Tommy tends to get extremely upset when children get hurt, it's likely he was bluffing.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Slides right past Papa Wolf and hits this in 3.06.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: A very intense cold stare (some a little creepy too).
  • Irony: He opposed John's plans to marry Lizzie Stark because she lied to him about giving up prostitution and marries John off to Esme. Several seasons later, Tommy ends up marrying Lizzie himself and they even have a daughter together.
  • It's Personal: It's implied Tommy has a dislike of the Italians because they put a hit on Danny.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Wants nothing to do with his father and does not share many personality quirks with Arthur Senior, but nonetheless has become a gang leader and fighter like his father, and he hates himself for it.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Polly is his, according to just about everyone.
    Michael: (to Polly) [Tommy] falls apart without you.
  • The Lost Lenore: Series 4 revealed that he was heartbroken when his girlfriend Greta Jarossi died before he went off to fight in WWI. Her loss and the trauma of the war are said to have changed him irreversibly.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Polly calls him out on this when Grace double-crosses him.
  • Made of Iron: Thomas Shelby has been, in order, shot through the chest, brutally tortured and numerous teeth yanked out, beaten half to death, and sustained internal bleeding, multiple broken ribs, and a fractured skull. He has survived all of it, able to heal himself and come back at fighting strength.
  • Meaningful Name: He was a soldier in World War One - in other words, a Tommy.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Oh yes. He's seen shirtless and naked quite a few times in the series, including a scene in the third season when he steps into the tub, only to almost immediately get out again when a maid informs him his family have arrived, with the camera lovingly lingering over his body the entire time.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: He is none too pleased to find that Freddie Thorne has been sleeping with his sister Ada, not at all, though there's not much he can do when Ada is already knocked up with Freddie's baby. He tries his best to keep them apart initially as he believes that Freddie is just using Ada to get at the Peaky Blinders, but he eventually does relent and accept the relationship when it becomes obvious Freddie really does love his sister.
  • Nature Lover: According to Polly, Tommy used to sleep outside all the time as a boy, and claims Curly would find him out in the barn nearly every night in the summer.
  • Necessarily Evil: Embraces this aspect of himself in season three, when it becomes clear that he and the family are in over their heads with enemies of a much higher caliber than they are. Ironically enough, Polly, who once praised Tommy for having aspects of this in season one, now finds herself disgusted to the depths which he's sunk.
    Polly: Tommy knows, he knows you have to be as bad as they are in order to survive.
  • Nerves of Steel: Tommy has this in spades - you have to be, to be a gangster, plus he was a soldier. He gets death threats and guns pointed straight at his face on such a frequent basis that all he does is stare calmly at the person doing it. Often that alone is enough to make them back off.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Tommy attempting to do something nice for Polly comes back to haunt him in a big way in Season Five, as the very son he reunited her with is now attempting to usurp his position as The Leader of the Peaky Blinders and Shelby Company Limited.
    • When he decides to take down Moseby, he goes to Ben Younger in order to discuss his plans with someone properly qualified. He then gets killed in a car bomb, along with a random child playing in the street. Tommy then says if he had just stuck to what he does best, the little boy would still be alive.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When he gets into a fistfight with a member of the IRA in Season One, said member gets him in a chokehold, making Tommy flashback to his time in the tunnels. He reacts with such a blind rage and beats the man to death with a nearby vase, to the point where Sergeant Moss comments it looks like the man has been killed by a wild animal.
  • Not So Above It All: He likes to think he's his family's Only Sane Man, but it all comes crashing down in his face when he realizes that fully half the problems he faces in season one come about because he stupidly trusts Grace, a mysterious barmaid lying about her past, with information he doesn't even trust his own family with. Essentially, he gets caught flatfooted in a mob war because he got suckered by a pretty face.
  • Papa Wolf: For Finn. You can beat up Arthur and John (and even Ada, to some degree) all you like, but the moment Finn is threatened, Tommy loses it.
    • Becomes one for his son Charles in season three, to such extremes in 3.06 that he blows up a train, finishes the tunnel under the Thames himself, and allows Michael to murder Father Hughes to get Charles back.
  • Pet the Dog: Deconstructed in that after he has become an incredibly wealthy crime lord he ends up giving generously to various charities, opens up and patronizes several orphanages, and tries to help out the people of his Birmingham neighborhood with his influence. But all of this is implied to be just as much Tommy trying to rationalize that his empire (and his own lifestyle) are built on blood money. It is played straight quite a few times in the series as well, though, such as:
    • He buys The Garrison for Arthur after his Bungled Suicide, seeing that his brother needs something to do to distract him and Arthur always wanted his own pub.
    • Allows Freddie to return to Birmingham for the birth of his son, though unfortunately this moment gets ruined when the police came to arrest Freddie after a tip-off from Grace and nobody believes that Tommy wasn't responsible for this.
    • Buys Polly an entire house to herself in a nice neighbourhood for her birthday, because in his own words, "she deserves it" and goes to quite a lot of trouble to find out what happened to her children, Michael and Anna.
    • Buys a house for Ada in London, despite Ada trying to distance herself from the family, in order to protect her from Sabini's men and posts his own men to watch over her because he "wouldn't be able to sleep" otherwise.
    • In Season Four, when he's engaged in a shoot-out between himself and Luca Changretta, he runs into a random old woman. He stops to reassure her that she'll be fine if she stays indoors and then orders all the other civilians listening to stay inside, by order of the Peaky Blinders, instead of trying to use them to get an advantage over an enemy very determined to gun him down.
    • When he and Luca Changretta are negotiating the terms of their blood feud, the first condition Tommy gives is "no civilians, no children".
    • After an argument with Lizzie, she informs him that Ruby is scared of him, and also tells him it's her birthday. Tommy looks quite disturbed at the thought of his own daughter being afraid of him and, despite rather more pressing matters happening, he does attend her birthday party.
    • When a woman approaches him and Arthur and explains her abusive drunk of a husband killed her pet birds because he spends all day drinking after he got fired from a factory owned by Shelby Company Limited, instead of laughing in her face for wasting his time, Tommy sincerely promises to buy her new birds and also adds that he and Arthur will have "a word" with her husband.
    • When a car bomb goes off in Season Five, Tommy's first concern is getting the children who got caught up in the blast out of danger.
    • In an odd way, but though Tommy was always planning to assassinate Oswald Mosley, he decides to do it during a political rally because he "spoke badly to my wife".
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Of a sort. To most of the world, he is "Tommy." Only people of authority trying to get to him (re: Officer Campbell) or close family (re: Polly) call him "Thomas." When Esme calls him by his given name in the season 2 premiere, everyone is noticeably surprised.
  • Really Gets Around: Goodness me, Tommy! John may have a reputation for being a ladies man, but clearly he's not the only one. Aside from seeing Lizzie Stark regularly in the past, Tommy also romantically involved with Grace in Season One, May, Lizzie and Grace in Season Two and Tatiana in Season Three and his Lost Lenore Greta is brought up in Season Four, along with Tommy sleeping with Jessie Eden and May is teased with him again.
  • Sanity Slippage: Swan-dives off the deep end after Grace is killed, breaking nearly all of his former rules of conduct and threatening to torture old Vincente Changretta for ordering the botched hit.
  • Selective Obliviousness: When it comes to Grace, Tommy behaves as though he has conveniently forgotten everything she did to him and the family, including selling him out to Campbell, which is what inadvertently got Danny killed. Presumably because she's the mother of his child. Polly calls him out on it and she also informs Grace that just because she is Easily Forgiven by Tommy, the family have neither forgiven nor forgotten her actions and if she puts a foot wrong, Polly will deal with her.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Almost all the men were in WWI, and none of them came back the same.
    Grace: What was he like, before France?
    Polly: He laughed. A lot. He wanted to work with horses.
    • During the season 4 finale, Tommy goes on holiday from work for three months and succumbs to alcohol, PTSD-induced nightmares, and flashbacks hard. It shows how badly damaged Tommy is, and suggests that Tommy does what he does to stay sane.
  • Secret Test of Character: He gives one to Lizzie Stark in Season One, offering her "one last time" before she marries John. She fails it and Tommy tells John that she lied to him about working as a prostitute, thus the engagement is called off.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Justified both times, as Lizzie lied to John about quitting her work as a prostitute so he felt obligated to tell John the truth, and he tried to get rid of Freddie because he suspected Freddie was just using Ada to get at the Peaky Blinders.
  • Sleazy Politician: Becomes one as an MP. Forgetting for a moment it is heavily implied he and the Shelby clan pretty much just rigged the election, he joins the Labour Party and champions the ‘working man’ while doing dirty work for other rich politicians like himself, and for the government. He flat out says to Jessie Eden that his public persona is all a calculated lie and that he doesn’t buy into socialism at all.
    • In season five, he uses his political and gangster roles interchangeably, and does some exceptionally dirty blackmail regarding another MP pimping out young children. He's also completely fine with being linked to Oswald Mosely's new British Fascist Party and being utilized as a tool by Mosely, though he justifies his role as For The Greater Good and ultimately bringing Mosely down.
  • The Stoic: Because of his Shell-Shocked Veteran status, Tommy is quite unflappable as he has often seen and experienced worse. Threatening his family is still very much a Berserk Button to him though.
  • Tranquil Fury: As The Stoic, Tommy's rage frequently runs cold rather than hot. For instance, when Campbell tells him that if he gets fired over the missing guns he knows Tommy has, then not only will he have Tommy, John and Arthur hanged, he'll also have Ada and her unborn child hanged and then have Finn arrested as a juvenile and thrown in prison with paedophiles. Tommy keeps a completely calm expression on his face, but he is palpably furious and even pulls out his gun as Campbell walks away, though ultimately common sense wins out and he declines to shoot him.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Tommy has a tendency to shower his family with gifts and such because he's not great at verbalising his affection for them. He bought The Garrison for Arthur, a house for Ada and one for Polly and then later a farm for John and Esme as well.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: It sounds like he was, which is a jarring contrast to the control-freak, multiple-murderer, and ruthless gangster Tommy is today.
  • Villain Protagonist: Tommy is the protagonist of the story, but he is also an ambitious mobster trying to forge a great criminal empire out of his street gang.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Tommy is a ruthless, murderous gangster, and over the course of the series he is not only knighted, but also as of season four is now a member of parliament.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Tommy, as it turns out, would sell out his own family (barring Ada, Finn and Charles) to try and come out on top.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: He is very good at this, particularly the finale of Season Four.

    Aunt Polly 

Elizabeth "Polly" Gray née Shelby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pollyshelbygray.jpg
"What Polly wants is a mystery."
(Played by Helen McCrory.)

"And it's me who runs the business of the heart of this family."
Aunt Polly to Grace

The Shelby brothers' aunt, and the matriarch of the family. She ran the business when the men were fighting in WWI. Upon their return, she settled into Number Two and The Consigliere.

  • Action Mom: Polly is one of the best with a gun in the family, and will even use it on family members if you cross her.
  • Apron Matron: Tommy is the only one of the Shelbys who even remotely tries to go head-to-head with Polly.
  • The Alcoholic: Everyone drinks like fish in this family, but if Polly is feeling particularly nihilistic, she can climb into the bottle. We see this in both season two and three.
  • Behind Every Great Man: To Tommy's credit, he does acknowledge Polly's contributions within the gang, and the members all support (and even revere) her. Despite that, much of Polly's efforts in running the gang during the war and keeping the books after go unacknowledged.
  • Break the Haughty: What Campbell's rape does to her. She can talk a good game, but as we find out in season 3, she's heartbroken that she doesn't feel remorse over what she did to him.
  • Broken Bird: In the first two episodes of the second season, when she's dealing with her grief over her stolen children, specifically her daughter Anna's death.
    • Hits it again in 2.05, after Campbell rapes her, but pulls it out. She's back in it for 4.01, after nearly being hanged and falling into mental illness and hallucinations.
  • Cartwright Curse: Moreso than any of the rest of her family, as every single man Polly has been involved with (barring Ruben) has met an unfortunate fate. Her first husband died when he got crushed between two canal boats, she kills Campbell after he rapes her, Luca Changretta and Polly used to date and he is killed in Season Four and just after Aberama proposes to her, he's killed as well. Even Ruben was Put on a Bus after Season Three and it's unclear if he died or just stopped seeing her after she was arrested.
  • Combat Haircomb: She pulls out a very long, very sharp hairpin to threaten Grace.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: In Season Five, Polly finds herself in the middle between Tommy, Arthur and the company on one side and Michael and Gina on the other.
  • The Consigliere: To Tommy, as the one who questions his plans, operates as the legitimate treasurer of the business, and will take over if he's unable to lead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All the time, but you know Polly's stressed out when the wisecracks don't get any breathing room.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Seems to have gone sailing over hers after Tommy left her - and Michael, Arthur, and John - to die at the end of 3.06. Polly goes a bit mad for a while, before pulling herself together to protect her son, save the rest of the family, and in 4.03, cut a deal with Luca Changretta selling out Tommy in exchange for Luca calling off the death orders for the rest of the Shelbys.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Has moments of incredible defensiveness and self-loathing, and as demonstrated with Esme and Reuben, if you try to show her sympathy, she tends to lash out viciously.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Has fooled her own son into questioning her motives and allegiance, which speaks for her dedication to playing both sides, when she's on top of her game.
    • To be fair, said son did not grow up knowing her or in the lifestyle the Peaky Blinders lead. The true testament to her abilities is the very few times that Tommy cannot predict what she will do or who she will back.
  • Evil Matriarch: While she's not quite evil, she's still a gang leader who will kill for revenge, or to protect her family.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: She spends most of season 2 trying desperately to keep Michael out of the family business. In 2.06, he chooses to reject her offer of a payoff and stay to be The Consigliere and handle all the legal side of the finances.
    Polly: I do the things I do so that my son never has to do them.
  • The Heart: She holds the family together. Tommy and Ada both love and respect her, even when they don't love or respect each other.
  • The Hedonist: Particularly in her sex life. Polly likes booze, jewelry, and significantly-younger men.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Polly, in an interesting gender-flip on the trope, is Reuben's. She doesn't think a normal and well-adjusted aristocrat like him would ever truly be interested in her beyond an affair.
  • Iron Lady: Don't fuck with her, or you'll find yourself on the business end of her gun.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Polly comes home after a very eventful night (including opium, whiskey, and pulling a pretty young thing) to find a boy on her doorstep. He's her long-lost son Michael.
  • Mad Oracle: Claims to have "second sight" and seeing ghosts after nearly dying in 4.01. Most people agree Polly's hallucinating, but Tommy seems to believe she really does see visions.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Her name is Polly Gray, Gray being her married name from a dead husband that nobody—even her—seems to have liked. She is still referred to as Polly Shelby, as this is both her maiden name and the family she's notorious for.
  • Mama Bear: Mostly for Ada and Michael, with shades of it for her nephews too. She even goes after Tommy first for burning Ada's letter to Freddie and then actually attacks him when she thinks he broke his word and gave Freddie up to the police.
  • Meaningful Rename: Her birth name is Elizabeth Shelby, and when she married, she changed her name to Gray. However, once the family rises in social class, she begins using Shelby again, specifically trading on the new social capital of the name. No one calls her Elizabeth, though—as she says, "even God calls me Polly".
  • Number Two: Explicitly left in charge when Tommy is either away or injured.
    Tommy: Tell Polly she's in charge until I get back. If I don't come back, tell her she's in charge for good.
  • Parental Substitute: The siblings' own mother is dead, and so Aunt Polly acts as such to them.
  • Rape and Revenge: Polly both plays the trope straight and averts it. Her rape by Campbell is the deciding factor for the Shelbys to take out Campbell once and for all, and Polly's murder of him is portrayed as "justice". Polly herself certainly never mourns or regrets the act, and the murder does gain her more agency. But Polly has always taken an active role in the family business, even designating herself as the one to deal with Grace's treachery, and it's highly probable that Polly is capable of murder without rape as a motivator.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Polly was never unattractive, but in season three, she's out of her everyday dresses and in ballgowns and diamonds. She turns every head at both Tommy's wedding and the Shelby Foundation Dinner.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She was much too hot-tempered and low-class for this in seasons one and two, but starting in season three, she's had to appear much more stoic and regal.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: This gem, spoken in 2.03 to the Shelby brothers that were blowing their car's horn outside her house:
    Polly: This is a respectable fucking neighbourhood.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Absolutely does not forgive Tommy for what he did to the family, but in 4.02, she is convinced to call a truce with him in light of the threats made by the Black Hand against the Shelbys.
  • Trauma Button: Polly's been avoiding sex ever since Campbell raped her, and with good reason. When she and Reuben finally sleep together and Reuben accidentally places his hand around her neck, Polly flashes back to the rape and pulls away, begging him not to touch her in that place.

    Arthur Jr. 

Arthur Shelby Jr.

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arthurshelby.jpg
"Watch Arthur, because he's as likely to hurt himself as anyone else."
(Played by Paul Anderson.)

"Every boss has to have a mad dog at his side. Yeah, somebody who can't be predicted—somebody mad in the head. But Thomas Shelby uses his own brother!"
Aunt Polly to Tommy

Arthur Shelby Jr. is the eldest brother, and bulldog of the Shelby family and Peaky Blinders.

  • Affectionate Nickname: Tommy frequently refers to Arthur as "brother", the only one of his brothers he calls that.
  • Always Second Best: To Tommy and he has come to accept it. Although it is implied Arthur could be a force in his own right if he just believed in himself a bit more and didn't view his place in life in relation to Tommy.
  • Badass Baritone: Arthur has quite a low, growly voice.
  • Badass Mustache: The only one of the brothers with facial hair.
  • Bash Brothers: Mostly with John, but sometimes Tommy too.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Particularly in the scenes in the Eden Club in season 2.
  • Brains and Brawn: He is the brawn to Tommy's brains.
  • Broken Ace: Physically imposing and powerful, no trouble with the ladies, prestige due to his family name… and alcoholism, depression, suicidal ideation, a vicious case of PTSD from WWI, and (in season 2), severe blackout rages, combined with his frustration in always coming second-fiddle to his more ambitious and charming younger brother.
  • Bungled Suicide: He attempts to hang himself with a skipping rope during a drunken bender after it becomes clear that Arthur Sr. doesn't love him and has tricked him out of several hundred pounds. The rope snaps, however.
  • The Brute: Lampshaded by Aunt Polly in his quote.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: All the Shelby's have pretty foul mouths, but Arthur seems incapable of not swearing, leading his nephew Karl's first onscreen sentence to be, "Fuckin' pheasants!"
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: When Linda walks out on him in Season Five and refuses to tell him where she is, Arthur finds a Quaker church and brutally attacks a man he suspects that Linda has been seeing. Linda tries to shoot Arthur in response, only to be prevented by Polly shooting her first, and once she recovers she tells Arthur she never wants to see him again.
  • The Dreaded: Tommy outright says he puts Arthur in certain positions (such as managing the Eden Club) because people are scared of him.
  • Emotional Bruiser
    Arthur: Drawing. I used to be good at drawing. I used to draw horses. Stallions. Great big ones. They looked real. I should have listened more in class. I should have done more with my life, John. Good things.
  • Fatal Flaw: Arthur is really bad at controlling his temper, which makes him very easy to manipulate and also makes him incredibly unpredictable to deal with. It ends up being the final nail in the coffin in regards to his marriage to Linda, as it's Arthur beating a man so badly he disfigures him for life that makes Linda try to shoot him, and once she recovers from being shot by Polly, she tells Arthur in no uncertain terms she never wants to see him again.
  • Freudian Trio: Arthur is the Id to Tommy's Ego and John's Superego.
  • Happily Married: To Linda, a Quaker, in season three. They're also expecting a baby. Subverted as of Season Five, with Linda leaving Arthur and even trying to kill him when he attacks another Quaker over frustration that she won't speak to him.
  • Henpecked Husband: To Linda in Season Three, much to the annoyance of his brothers.
  • The Heart: Between the three brothers, Arthur is the most emotional, and in seasons 3 and 4, the most expressive in how much he cares about Tommy and John.
  • Large Ham: Especially when he's fighting or drunk.
    Arthur: WHO THE FUCK'S NEXT?!
  • Like Father, Like Son: He's much more like his father than he wants to be.
  • Loose Lips: He's quite willing to spill potentially sensitive information to Grace because he thinks she's just a barmaid, which is how she figures out where the guns are hidden and sells Tommy out to Campbell.
  • Mr. Exposition: He has a habit of externalizing the issues faced by the characters within the setting of the show. His PTSD from the war is very visual, compared to Tommy’s efforts to control it with opium. Another example is his speech at Tommy’s wedding. He explains both the nature of the circumstances, and sets the stage for the tone of what happens afterwords.
  • Odd Friendship: Arthur and Grace strike one up when they begin running the Garrison. Arthur speaks to her like more of an equal than a simple barmaid or secretary would be, and Grace teases him about his terrible head for numbers. They continue to affectionately tease each other in season three.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Tommy has put the war behind him. John has his wife and children to focus on. Arthur… has nothing, and is still haunted by the war.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Mostly in the first season.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Arthur's the eldest brother, but not the head of the family. The job becomes Tommy's only because he's undeniably better at it than Arthur. This understandably makes Arthur feel like crap.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: In season three, Tommy constantly makes Arthur choose between his newfound morals and wife Linda and the Peaky life involving sex, drugs, and murder all in the name of family ambition.
  • Tsundere: Towards Linda. He swings between glowering at her and trying to assert himself, then being completely lovesick and obsessed with her.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Unlike Tommy, he still admires and seeks the approval of their father. When Tommy warns him to stay away from Arthur Sr, Arthur doesn't listen and his Dad promptly swindles him out of thousands of pounds before ditching him again.

    John 

John Michael Shelby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/johnshelby.jpg
"Watch John, because he has so many depending on him."
(Played by Joe Cole.)

"John, I don't see the same thing in your eyes that I see in Tommy's. You should get out. You should get out."
Lizzie to John

The third of the Shelby brothers, a cocky, Hot-Blooded man with a very large family to take care of, a wife at odds with his brother Tommy, and a sneaking suspicion Tommy's beginning to go too far.

  • Action Dad: Unlike either of his brothers, John is a family man. He's a widower, with 4 children, and then he remarries and has a fifth and sixth. Still badass.
  • Altar Diplomacy/Arranged Marriage: He and Esme's marriage was arranged by their clans as a peace deal.
    Tommy: I've already bethrothed you, so if you back out now, there's gonna be one fucking mighty war breaking out here, that's gonna make the Somme… it's gonna make the Somme look like a fucking tea party. But if you marry her, our family and the Lee family will be united, forever, and this war will be over.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: With six kids and numerous times being caught with his pants down, someone find this kid some condoms.
  • Amicable Exes: John and Lizzie Stark seem to be on pretty good terms by the end of season 2, considering that he called off their engagement in season 1 because she was still secretly working as a prostitute, to the point he absolutely flips out when Angela Changretta is dating her.
  • Bash Brothers: Mostly with Arthur, but sometimes Tommy too.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: A bit darker kind than his brother Arthur, but no less badass.
  • Cold Sniper: Whenever some targeted shooting is required, John and his rifle are called upon.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: He intended to marry Lizzie Stark in Season One, though this fell through after Tommy informs him that Lizzie lied to him about quitting her business as a whore. He's then married off to Esme to solidify an alliance with the Lee family and while John and Esme are legitimately in love, there seem to be some lingering feelings on John's part for Lizzie, given that he's the one who comforts her in Season Two after her Near-Rape Experience and he absolutely loses his shit when Lizzie starts dating Angel Changretta.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: In season 2, John has become this to Tommy. He feels that Tommy's plans for expansion to London are foolish when they're already making so much money, and believes he should have more control over day-to-day operations.
  • Fatal Flaw: John has two - his recklessness and his jealousy over being just the third Shelby sibling. Both of them come back to bite him hard, as it's John who kicks off the Shelby/Changretta feud over Lizzie, he escalates the problem when he and Arthur were supposed to defuse it and then he refuses to run away when the Italians show up outside his house, leading him to get gunned down and Michael severely injured. To be fair, he was at least willing to go hear Tommy out, unlike Esme, but he still open fired on the Sicilian Mafia with no cover.
  • Freudian Trio: John is the Superego to Arthur's Id and Tommy's Ego.
  • Glamorous Single Father: John has 4 kids from his first wife, and 1 by Esme. We see Esme's baby once at Freddie's funeral; we know one of the kids is named Katie… and that's it. Finn is always around, but John's kids never are.
  • The Ghost: Not John himself, but we've never actually seen any of his children from his first wife, Martha.
  • Happily Married: To Esme, despite their bickering over their involvement in the family business, they obviously adore each other very much. Unfortunately that doesn't always stop John's eye from wandering...
  • Hot-Blooded: When he fights.
  • Hypocrite: Of a sort, as he's perfectly fine with attacking Angel Changretta over merely dating his ex, but when it comes to the rather more serious crime of killing Tommy's wife, he starts protesting that Tommy's going too far. Granted, Ms. Changretta was innocent in the entire thing, but John's the one who caused the entire problem to begin with, but baulks when it comes time to finish it.
  • In-Series Nickname: His brothers often call him "John Boy".
  • Middle Child Syndrome: John is the middle child of five siblings and he seems jealous that he has no defining trait outside of that - Arthur is The Brute and the oldest, Tommy is The Leader, Ada is the only girl and Finn is the baby. His jealousy only gets worse when he views Michael as getting preferential treatment over him and Arthur.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Ultimately it's John's fault the Shelby/Changretta feud happened thanks to John blinding Angel Changretta over dating Lizzie and refusing to apologise for it, which then leads to a botched assassination on Tommy, Grace's death, the death of the Changrettas and, ultimately, John's death.
  • Oral Fixation: He loves chewing on his toothpicks.
  • Pet the Dog: When Lizzie is in tears over her Near-Rape Experience, John clumsily attempts to comfort her and lets her cry on his shoulder.
  • Rage Breaking Point: For the better, really. John finally cracks in 3.03, when he can't take Tommy treating him and Arthur like foot soldiers and ignoring the usual code to punish the Changrettas. John screams at his already grieving brother, and along with Arthur, refuses to let Tommy torture Changretta or kill Mrs. Changretta.
  • The Reliable One: For the first two seasons.
  • Remarrying for Your Kids. He cites them as the main reason he needs a wife.
    John: Aunt Polly, you know what it's been like since Martha died. […] Truth is, my kids have been running bloody rings around me. Running barefoot with the dogs until all hours. […] What the kids need is a mother. So that's why I'm getting married.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The Black Hand assassinate him in front of his own home to prove how serious the threat against the Shelby family is.
  • Sanity Slippage: Become incredibly reckless and hot tempered in season three, culminating in when he gouges Angel Changretta's eyes out for daring to date Lizzie.

    Ada 

Ada Thorne née Shelby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/adashelbythorne.jpg
"Oh my Ada, the only princess of the royal family of Small Heath."
(Played by Sophie Rundle.)

"To rent? […] To poor people? Ten to a room, no repairs, no water. And if they complain, you just send Arthur and the boys round… You know, I give advice down at the library. Families, thrown on the street. It's men like you we're fighting."
Ada to Tommy

The Shelbys' only sister, a widow, with a young son. She lives in London, and tries to distance herself from her family, with limited success.

  • Action Mom: Turns into one after her son Karl is born.
  • Attempted Rape: After she is nearly kidnapped in the season 2 premiere.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For all of the anger and resentment between her and Tommy in Season 1, in the following seasons, she keeps in contact with the Shelbys, allows Tommy to stay with her in London, and seems to have taken up residence in Tommy's Warwickshire house to be his personal secretary after Grace dies. She also acts as the go-between with Tommy and the rest of the family with Season 4.
  • Black Sheep/White Sheep: The Peaky Blinders might be our main characters, but they're very much bad men. Ada wants to be legitimate and disassociated from them. She's working in a library in season three.
    Ada: When will you understand? I just want you all out of my life.
  • Cartwright Curse: Ada really doesn't have the best love life in the show. Freddie dies of tuberculosis as of Season Two and Ben Younger is killed in a carbomb in Season Five, before Ada even got around to telling him she was pregnant.
  • Dating Catwoman: Ada is seeing Freddie Thorne, resident Bolshevik unionizer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually in response to Tommy driving her crazy.
    Ada: Unbelievable. Tommy Shelby is going to stop a revolution with his cock.
  • Defiant to the End: Well, not the end, but when Ada is captured by the army in Season Four and strip-searched, she vows to have the soldiers who watched killed before the sun's up and tells the lieutenant he'll lose his eyes if he dares peek on her getting dressed. He lampshades Ada vowing to kill people whilst wearing only a towel with sincere admiration.
    • She also fights tooth and nail against some Italians who try to rape her in Season Two, despite being outnumbered four to one and the fact they have guns on them.
  • Fish out of Water: What Tommy believes she is in London.
    Tommy: You're bored. You used to chase rats with a revolver, Ada!
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: While her ploy of placing baby Karl in the way of the firing line between the Peaky Blinders and Kimber's gang was successful in warding off both sides from shooting at each other, she clearly didn't count on Kimber himself being just that heartless and gleefully using the opportunity to shoot and kill Danny and wound Tommy.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Unlike her brothers, who tend to move on quite quickly when their relationships go sour, Ada remains single for a long time after Freddie's death, only starting up a possible new one four seasons later.
  • Hypocrite: Doesn't like to be involved in the family business and holds herself apart from their criminal enterprises... but eventually begins to accept money from them. It might be more understandable considering she is a widow with limited options raising a young child, but Series Five makes it clear she is actually quite wealthy. Tommy calls her out on it in Season Five:
    Tommy: Someone has to pay for them pretty pictures on your walls, Ada.
    • She blames Tommy over the death of Ben Younger, acting as if he was an innocent pawn in the entire situation that Tommy dragged into it, even though Tommy explicitly told him the risks at the start and he chose to help Tommy of his own accord.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Ada really, really shouldn't be sleeping with Freddie Thorne, nor should she become pregnant from this liaison. Naturally, she does.
  • The Lost Lenore: Unlike her brothers, Ada is completely faithful to Freddie during the duration of their marriage and it takes several seasons before she's able to move on from him to someone else.
  • Mafia Princess: She might not want to be one, but she is. Lampshaded by Freddie in 1.01:
    Freddie: Oh, my Ada. The only princess of the royal family of the kingdom of Small Heath.
  • Morality Pet: Along with Finn, she is one to Tommy, as he does try to protect Ada and keep her out of the line of fire from his criminal activities.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: She is the only girl of 5 siblings and her brothers are very protective of her.
  • Pitbull Dates Puppy: You'd think ex-soldier Freddie would be the dangerous one. It's actually his Mafia Princess girlfriend with the criminal background and absolutely no fucks to give.
  • Shed the Family Name: Ada's glad to now be a Thorne, not a Shelby.
  • Shipper on Deck: She's not subtle about shipping Polly/Ruben, mostly because she thinks Polly deserves to have a bit of fun.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In seasons 1-3, Ada had been somewhat protected and removed from the worst of what her family is capable of. In season four, after a year running the Shelbys' enterprises in Boston, Ada returns to Birmingham as a decision-maker. She carries a gun, makes business deals, and advises Tommy on both Shelby Company Limited business and family business.

    Finn 

Finn Shelby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/finnshelby.jpg
(Played by Alfie Evans-Meese & Harry Kirton.)

"That's why you should never pretend to be me, Finn."
Tommy to Finn

The youngest of the Shelby siblings, at least 10 years younger than the others. Since Finn isn't really old enough to partake in the clan's crime, he thus isn't counted among "the Shelby brothers".

  • The Baby of the Bunch: Finn is the youngest Shelby, and his older siblings generally try to keep him away from any part of the business (legal or otherwise). This changes after John is shot and Finn becomes a full-fledged member of the organization. Arthur cries when he is given a spot at the table for the first time.
  • Butt-Monkey: Arthur and John are constantly taking the piss out of Finn. Even Tommy gets in on it when Finn gets a bit older.
    John: Oi, Finn, go stick your head in a bucket.
  • Cast the Expert: His actor from series 2 onwards, Harry Kirton, is from Birmingham and has said that on set he is sometimes asked to check for errors his castmates make with the Brummie accent.
  • Children Are Innocent: Considering his family, he's really quite innocent as an 11-year-old in season 1. He's grown up a lot by season 2. Enforced by actor age.
  • Hero-Worshipper: He really looks up to Tommy, especially in Season One.
  • Parental Substitute: Polly is one for all the Shelbys, but if you do the math, she's the only mother Finn has ever known. This manifests with Finn being incredibly obedient to her and defending her to the others.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Shut up, Finn."
  • Sex as a Rite-of-Passage: During Finn's first day as the boss of the betting house, it is (surprisingly) the women who arrange for a prostitute to sleep with him upon learning he's a virgin. He doesn't enjoy it.
  • Tagalong Kid: He's a Shelby brother, but he's too young to do much. His jobs rarely include more than carrying stuff.
  • The Quiet One: Doesn't really have too much to say, and seems to talk mostly to Arthur and John.
  • The Runt at the End: He's a good decade younger than his other siblings.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: In season 1, Finn is a 11-year-old participating in gang warfare, racketeering, and underage drinking. He's rarely an active participant, but he's always around and he certainly knows what's happening. Finn's no longer a child in season 2, but having a 13-year-old snorting cocaine and giving it to his older brother as well is rather unsettling.

    Esme 

Esme Martha Shelby née Lee

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/esmeleeshelby.jpg
(Played by Aimée-Ffion Edwards.)

"I'm not a blood member of this family, but perhaps indeed because I'm not a member I can see things in a different light. […] I have a child, blessed with the Shelby family good looks. I want John to see him grow up. I want us to someday live somewhere with fresh air and trees."
Esme to the Shelbys

A girl of the Lee clan, married to John via an arranged marriage, and now a Shelby, with a young son.

  • Altar Diplomacy/Arranged Marriage: A marriage was needed by their clans as a peace deal, and Esme and John were ideal candidates for it.
    Tommy: There's a girl in the Lee family who's gone a bit wild, and she needs marrying off. […] A girl who needs a husband; a man who needs a wife.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In the finale of Season Two, when Arthur and Michael have been thrown in prison, the business is under threat and everything seems to be crumbling for Tommy, Esme suggests the family flee to France where they can still "get lost". When Tommy responds by telling her he'll cut her out of the family if she ever talks about getting lost again, Esme has this to say:
    Esme: What family?
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted. For all her ideas and reading, Esme is still seen as little more than John's wife and the mother of his children.
  • Dark Chick: She may have a little Starscream in her, as Polly suspects.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It's partly her fault that John gets killed, as she refuses to leave the house when Michael comes to fetch them, thus the New York Mafia arrives and gun down her husband.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite being initially standoffish, she has a moment of bonding with May after they start talking about horses, with Esme commenting she grew up riding them and May tells her she did as well.
    • She informs Polly that when Polly went to go see a psychic about the fate of her missing daughter that the woman tricked her by moving the glass and merely telling Polly what she already suspected was true (that Anna was already dead), but Polly reacts rather badly to her secret outing being exposed and puts a knife to Esme's throat.
    • After John's death, Esme leaves to be with her family and she takes not only her children, but John's other kids he had with his first wife.
  • Put on a Bus: After John is murdered by the mafia, she takes her and John's children, abandons the Shelbys entirely, and rejoins her brethren on the road.
  • The Resenter: To just about everything. Esme hates that Tommy and the family have a hold on John, hates that Polly is the alpha bitch of the family, hates that she can't go traveling anymore, and doesn't mind letting you know it.
    • The Starscream: Frequently tries to undermine Tommy, mouths off to Polly, and would like nothing more than for John to listen to her instead of his family.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: All of Esme's vocabulary is from books, so she speaks in a flowery, overly formal way in public.
  • Women Are Wiser: Tries to be a voice of reason for John, but his ties to his family may run deeper than his commitment to Esme.

    Michael 

Michael Gray

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/michaelgray.jpg
"I put it all together, but I don't partake. I've got a bright future, you see. Mapped out."
(Played by Finn Cole.)

"In my village there's this little wishing well. It's made of white bricks, right in the middle of the village green. Everyone says how pretty it is. But I swear, if I spend another day in that village, I'm going to blow it up with dynamite. Probably blow my hands off with it, but it will be worth it. Just to see all those pretty white bricks spread over the pretty village green."
Michael to Tommy

Polly's eldest and only surviving child, taken from her when he was 5. Jumps at the chance to be a Shelby, once he's returned to the family.

  • Cain and Abel and Seth: His introduction complicates the already-fragile relationships among the Shelbys. In particular, John and Polly square off on whether or not allowing Michael to participate in the less-legal side of the business is a wise idea and John becomes increasingly jealous that Tommy seems to place more responsibility and trust in Michael instead of him and Arthur.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Has quite a bit of sex with a London girl at Tommy's wedding, and sees her often afterwards. In 3.05, we find out that Michael got her pregnant, and they're both panicking; Michael upon dealing with her family (who look down on the Shelbys and have affianced her to someone else) and Charlotte wanting an abortion.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Deconstructed with Michael. He wants something more exciting than the pretty little village where he grew up, and the Shelbys are certainly that. But he's also visibly taken aback by the grimness of Birmingham. Still, he goes home, and then once he's 18, he chooses to come back.
  • The Consigliere: In the Tom Hagen sense. Like his mother, Michael handles many of the financial aspects of the company. Unlike her, he deliberately keeps himself far away from the more illegal doings.
    Charlotte: You don't look like the rest of them.
    Michael: That's the idea. I put it all together, but I don't partake. See, I've got a bright future, you see. Mapped out. But you? You want me to be like them.
  • Entitled Bastard: In Season Five, Michael inexplicably decides that he should be the one in charge of Shelby Company Unlimited, despite much of the mess in said season being entirely his fault because he ignored Tommy's instructions and lost nearly all their money in the stock market crash, yet he tries to get Tommy to sell out to him in the season finale, possibly with Gina's coaching.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Michael feels guilty for being groomed as the "legitimate" boss, his hands kept clean while John and Arthur do the dirty work. In 3.05, we find out that Father Hughes molested him as a child, and Tommy has given him permission to kill the priest in retribution. In 3.06, Michael commits his first two murders, shooting one of Alfie's goons in the head to protect Tommy, and later, walking into Hughes's church and slitting his throat to bring Charles home.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Him and Father Hughes.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Well, in his case, mother. After a visit from Tommy, when he's given an address in Birmingham, Michael shows up on Polly's doorstep.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Aunt Polly's son, and the boys' cousin. He was taken from his mother by the police at age 5, and returned again at 17, and to stay at 18, once he was legally an adult.
  • Naïve Newcomer: In season two. He's a fully-fledged Peaky Blinder by season three.
  • Rape as Backstory: In 3.05, Michael comes to Tommy with a request—to kill Father Hughes, the man who raped him when he was in the care of the church after being taken from Polly. Michael was six years old.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: At the end of Season Four.
  • The Reliable One: In season four, Shelby Company Limited seems to run on Michael keeping each aspect in balance, serving as the primary form of communication between Tommy in London, the Birmingham enterprises, Ada in Boston, and the scattered remaining family members.
  • Shotgun Wedding: To Gina in Season Five, marrying her on the boat back as he found out she's pregnant.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Michael is great at dealing with the financial side of things, but he has a lot to learn about being a Shelby.
  • Smug Snake: Has devolved into this by Season Five, fancying himself a cunning criminal operator after he loses the family a shitload of money not selling off some stocks Tommy explicitly told him to sell off. And yet the entire time he still thinks of himself a business genius who deserves to succeed Tommy as head of the family.
  • The Starscream: To Tommy in season five, possibly due to his wife's influence.
  • The Stoic: Witnesses a lot of wrongdoing and violence while still remaining calm.
    • Not So Stoic: After the barfight he and Isaiah get into in 2.04, but more notably, when Arthur and John's needling finally makes him crack, Michael can be as angry and temperamental as the rest of the Shelbys. In 3.03, he gets drunk with John and Arthur and while attempting to shoot a gun for the first time, points it to both of his cousins' heads and curses at Polly when she breaks up the fight.
  • Team Switzerland: Between Tommy and Polly in season four, keeping his position as second in command of the business, but personally caring for his mother.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Michael asks Polly how his father died, expecting either a normal sob story or an evasion.
    Michael: What was he like? My dad? …how did he die?
    Polly: Well, I won't lie to you. He died drunk, squeezed between a boat and a lock. A real river gypsy's death. But he could sing—play the piano. His smile would break your heart. You've got his same beautiful eyes. When he was sober, he was kind and gentle. His trouble was, he fell in with the wrong crowd when he was a boy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season Five, he has become an entitled twerp who demands Tommy give over the Shelby criminal empire to him and phase out the rest of the family for no particularly compelling reason other than Michael sees himself as 'the next generation.' It's heavily implied Michael sells them all out after Tommy fires him.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Michael's hardly a child—17 when he returns, 18 in 2.04—but for a boy raised by what looks to be a nice, middle-class family with a horse farm, he seems to be very comfortable witnessing a near-assassination and Arthur biting a man's ear off, as well as winning bar brawls with men twice his age.
  • Wild Card: Michael's family, but because he was taken away, he doesn't have the family bonds the others have. Thus far, it's hard to know what to make of him.

    Linda 

Linda Shelby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/linda_shelby.jpg
(Played by Kate Phillips.)

"Fuck him! Arthur's gone home to the Madonna of Molesley."
John to Finn..

Arthur's new wife, and a Quaker.

  • Dumb Blonde: Completely subverted. Linda is one of the very few people—let alone women—that Tommy admits are "smart".
  • Ethical Slut: Believes it is her role as a wife to seduce and sexually satisfy Arthur. Not that she doesn't thoroughly enjoy it.
  • The Fundamentalist: As a Quaker, Linda is incredibly devout, and very disapproving of Arthur taking part in the illegal side of the business.
  • Guile Hero: Knows precisely which buttons to push and when, can navigate the personalities and tempers of the Shelby clan to do what she wants, and is a hell of a hard negotiator, as Tommy finds out.
  • Holier Than Thou: Her perpetual attitude, though being around the Shelby's means she isn't wrong about that. Polly and the other Shelby girls like to mock her over her it.
  • Loophole Abuse: She starts working in the gambling den and when questioned by Polly over this, she justifies it because she's not doing the gambling, therefore she isn't sinning.
  • Morality Chain: Seemingly exists to provide tension between Arthur's vicious behavior and criminal family ties, and the country life with religion that Linda represents.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Polly has always been Catholic, but Linda lives and breathes her faith.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She chews Arthur out for beating a man he suspected she was cheating on him with so badly that he's permanently disfigured and tells him she wants nothing to do with him.
  • White Sheep: Seems to want nothing to do with her husband's infamous family, preferring to focus on her home life.

    Gina 

Gina Gray

(Played by Anya Taylor-Joy.)

Michael's new wife, introduced in Season Five.

  • Cultural Posturing: Gina is American and she really likes reminding everyone of said fact, being quite dismissive of her British in-laws.
  • Lady Macbeth: She seems to be the one encouraging Michael's worst impulses.
  • Mafia Princess: Her relatives in Detroit and New York are implied to be part of The Mob.
  • Shotgun Wedding: To Michael in Season Five, marrying him on the boat to England because she's pregnant. Allegedly.

    Arthur Sr. 

Arthur Shelby Sr.

(Played by Tommy Flanagan.)

"This family needed you ten years ago, and you walked out on us. Not now. Get out of this house."
Tommy to Arthur Sr.

The father of the Shelby siblings, who deserted them several years ago. By all accounts a conniving bastard and swindler, who has no qualms about tricking even his own family. He appears only in 1.05 to demonstrate why all his children have quite the Freudian Excuse.

  • The Barnum/Con Man: A smooth talker, he convinces Arthur that he is gathering money to buy a casino-hotel in America, and he would gladly make his most favourite son a partner in the business. All he needs is a small entry fee, of course. Arthur Jr. falls for it, hook, line, and sinker, to the disappointment of his family.
  • Bus Crash: Hasn't been seen in Birmingham since the single episode where he tried to once again take advantage of his children. In 3.04, Tommy receives a letter that Arthur Senior was shot twice outside a bar in Boston, and in his last moments, wanted to reconcile with his children. Tommy clearly doesn't buy it, Arthur won't say anything, John figuratively spits on his overtures, and Finn follows the lead of his brothers.
  • Dirty Coward: When he first appears, he makes himself at home in the Shelby house, asking them to say grace before a meal on the grounds that he's not only a guest but the head of the family, despite Polly and several others vocally not wanting him there. The second Tommy walks in and tells him to Get Out!, he starts talking about how he never stays anywhere he's not welcome and leaves. He also doesn't carry through swindling Arthur until he's confirmed that he can win a fight with him.
  • Disappeared Dad/Parental Abandonment: He left the family ten years ago for greener pastures in America.
  • Easy Evangelism: He claims to have found Christianity while he's been away from Birmingham. Subverted, as he's lying.
  • Financial Abuse: In the words of Polly, he's a "thieving whore-groping con artist", and it seems that his duping money out of the family is an old habit.
  • Glasgow Grin/Good Scars, Evil Scars
  • No Honor Among Thieves: He has barely seen his children again after ten years before he attempts to hustle money from them.
  • Phony Veteran: He apparently served "all over" during World War I. No one's buying it.
  • So Proud of You: He knows that Arthur still admires him and seeks his approval, and exploits for it is all it is worth. Additionally, it seems he still treats Finn well, spinning him tall tales of America. It's clear he never really means it, since he steals 500 pounds and skips out on the family yet again.

The Authorities

    Inspector Campbell 

Chief Inspector/Major Chester Campbell

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chestercampbell.jpg
(Played by Sam Neill.)

"One thing I have learned is that you and I are opposites, but also just the same. Like an image in a mirror. We hate people, and they in turn hate us, and fear us. […] Men like us, Mr. Shelby, will always be alone."
Cambell to Tommy

A zealous, high-class police officer from Belfast, who is sent into Birmingham by the government to recover the stolen guns.

  • Bad Boss: He has no problems with asking his henchmen to carry out criminal acts, and then throwing them under the bus once they have outlived their usefulness.
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • With Billy Kimber in Season 1
    • And with Darby Sabini in Season 2.
  • Dirty Coward: Many, even within the police force itself, view him as such, as he was able to ride out the Great War far away from the front lines. As a result he is frequently mocked for his non-existent veteran status.
  • Evil Cripple: In Season 2, he walks with a cane after sustaining a serious injury from being shot by Grace.
  • Fatal Flaw: Campbell's is his sadism, as he cannot resist toying with his prey and giving them a chance to fight back, since it never occurs to him that they will. This leads to him getting shot by Grace in the Season Two opener, allows Tommy to escape from under his nose because he chose to come gloating about how he had Tommy on the ropes while Tommy was badly injured in hospital and when he brags about raping Polly, assuming she'll be too terrified of him to fight back, she shoots him what is heavily implied to be his crotch, finally killing him for good.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He'll smile at you, play up the harmless demeanor… right until he sticks the knife in and tells you how disgusting he finds criminal scum.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Recruits Tommy precisely because he's a notorious gangster and killer, but doesn't consider that when he crosses the line against Tommy's family, that he'd be killed by Polly, a member of that notorious gangster family.
  • Hopeless Suitor: For Grace, who he clearly has a crush on despite the fact she's young enough to be his daughter, to the point of proposing to her at the end of Season One. She declines and Campbell doesn't take it well.
  • Knight Templar: While he is clearly dedicated to his job of upholding the law, he has no problem with employing excessive brutality and underhanded methods to do so.
  • Like A Daughter To Me: How he claims to feel about Grace. His affections are obviously of a much less wholesome nature, though.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: A firm believer in this.
  • Precision F-Strike: He never usually swears, but when he captures Freddie Thorn's superior, Stanley Chapman, he has this to say:
    Campbell: Mr. Chapman, you're fucked.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: We knew Campbell was a rapist in 1.06 when he abuses the Chinese prostitute. Then, he forces Polly to sleep with him in exchange for releasing her son from prison, only to rape her anyway when she's not playing along to his liking.
  • Sadist: He has no qualms about tormenting people, be it physically or mentally (though he clearly prefers the former over the latter), and it is implied that he even enjoys it. He doesn't appear to be fully aware of it though. Case in point: when sleeping with a Chinese prostitute he ends up hurting her severely during the act, and he seemed surprised to discover that she is bleeding from the mouth afterwards.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Subverted. At first, he appear to be one as he's trying to stop the notorious Peaky Blinders, but then reveals himself to be a Sadist who tortures and rapes people, proving himself to be worse.

    Grace 

Grace Helen Shelby née Burgess

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/graceburgess.jpg
(Played by Annabelle Wallis.)

"I'll fight you with my fists and show you how a rich girl fights. I'm from a tough family, too."
Grace to Aunt Polly

An Irish Unionist whose parents were killed by the IRA. She works under Campbell as an undercover agent, and infiltrates the Peaky Blinders in disguise as a barmaid to gather information, but ends up feeling increasingly drawn to Tommy.

  • The Baby Trap: What she pulls on Tommy in the season 2 finale. It works, as her husband ends up "committing suicide" and she marries Tommy about two years later.
  • Becoming the Mask: She ends up falling genuinely in love with Tommy, and although her loyalty is ultimately still to the Crown, she ends up being willing to gamble her career to help him.
  • The Chanteuse: The "Irish pub singer" subset—beautiful and melancholy as ever.
  • Damsel in Distress: Shot in 3.02 by an assassin aiming for Tommy. She dies.
  • Easily Forgiven: Lampshaded by Polly, who tells her point-blank that even if Tommy forgives her for spying on him and selling him out to the police, the family will never forget and Polly will never accept her.
  • Femme Fatale: More so in season 2, where she is much more mysterious and her motives are questionable.
  • Honey Trap: What Campbell makes her into for Tommy. It works, but backfires on Campbell.
  • Hypocrite: In Season Two, she has the nerve to act all offended when she comes to see Tommy and he assumes (correctly) that she's there for sex. That very night she has sex with him, right after extolling how good and kind to her her husband is, then informs Tommy in the season finale that she's pregnant with his baby. She also doesn't seem to remotely care about her husband committing suicide.
  • Ice Queen/Defrosting Ice Queen: Particularly in season two, Grace is quite aloof and distant, except when she's with Tommy.
  • Informed Attractiveness: A lot of comments about her looks are made, though given the lack of women around in Season One you have to wonder if it's merely because she is a girl rather than her being especially good-looking.
  • Never My Fault: She blames the reason for the relationship not working out solely on Tommy not following her to New York, apparently expecting him to ditch his family, friends, business and entire life in Birmingham for her and takes no responsibility over the fact she sold him out to the police and made no effort to salvage the damage she'd done except to ask Campbell (whom she already knew had been trying to have him killed the entire Season) to spare Tommy.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Her and her husband are trying to have a baby, but they can't. She and Tommy don't mean to get pregnant, but she does.
  • In Love with the Mark: As Polly spots, she fell for Tommy for real.
  • It's All About Me: Grace often acts to serve her own interests or immediate gratification and becomes very critical when other people don't cater to her desires, such as ignoring both Campbell and Tommy's instructions to shoot two different IRA members out of her own personal vendetta, blaming Tommy for not ditching Birmingham by running away to New York with her, cheating on her husband or expecting Tommy to drop everything else he's doing when she reveals to him she's pregnant.
  • The Mole: Within the Peaky Blinders. Tommy eventually promotes her all the way to accountant.
  • Morality Pet: For Tommy in season three, as he tries to protect her from the violent side of his business.
  • Odd Friendship: Arthur and Grace strike one up when they begin running the Garrison. Arthur speaks to her like more of an equal than a simple barmaid or secretary would be, and Grace teases him about his terrible head for numbers.
  • Put on a Bus/The Bus Came Back: Grace leaves for America in the season 1 finale. She returns toward the end of season 2.
  • Rich Bitch: Polly pegs her as one during the Season One finale and when Grace counters that she comes from "a tough family too", Polly laughs in her face.
  • Sex–Face Turn: The classic cliché, played very straight
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Grace has no problem drawing guns on people, even hardened criminals, and shooting people, all in perfectly tailored dresses.
  • Smug Snake: Grace is very sure of herself and tends to overstep her mark a lot, which Polly never hesitates to call her out on.
  • Spotting the Thread: As part of her disguise, she claims to be from central Ireland, but Tommy figures out that she is actually an Ulster Protestant when she fails to do sign of the cross upon entering a church.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Grace, in the final scene of 3.02, is shot by an assassin gunning for Tommy. Her death is used solely to motivate Tommy into becoming even more cruel and cold, as well as get the new foundation some sympathetic charitable donations.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Tommy in the first two seasons. They Do, in season three, where she officially becomes his wife.

    Winston Churchill 

Winston Churchill

(Played by Andy Nyman & Richard McCabe.)

  • Da Chief: To Campbell.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frequently at Campbell's expense.
  • Historical Domain Character: A very famous one.
  • Not So Different: As a compliment to Tommy, he tells him that despite their vastly different backgrounds and histories, they are very similar men. They are both patriots who will do the difficult things necessary to make Britain's future safe. Churchill does it in the light while Tommy does it underground in the dark.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: He respects Tommy a great deal, since Tommy is a veteran like him.

    Inspector/Sergeant Moss 

Inspector Moss

(Played by Tony Pitts.)

Birmingham policeman. Initially a Sergeant and Campbell's right hand man, eventually promoted to the rank of Inspector, and the most prominent recurring police character thereafter.

  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.
  • Friend on the Force: Somewhat subverted. While Moss does generally appear to be on the Shelby payroll as of the start of Season 2, he's far from being their puppet; he will act against the Peaky Blinders if ordered to by his superiors (Campbell in Season 2, the unseen Chief Constable of Birmingham at the end of Season 3). Despite these blips, on the whole he seems to be reasonably friendly towards the Shelbys, though not at all comfortable with some of Tommy's antics.
  • Groin Attack: Suffers one at the hands of Polly when arresting Michael on Campbell's orders.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: For the most part Moss is a lot more upstanding and competent than most of the police to appear in the series. He genuinely dislikes naked corruption and is disgusted by Campbell's hypocrisy in allowing Billy Kimber's men to enter Birmingham heavily armed. It's true he takes the occasional backhander and gives them the odd tip-off in return, but he's far from being a truly corrupt cop.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Finally asserts his authority in Season 4 furiously breaking up a gunfight between Tommy and Luca Changretta's henchmen with a host of armed policeman, declaring that the Rule of Law is finally being restored.

In Birmingham

    Freddie Thorne 

Freddie Thorne

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peakyblinders_freddiethorne.jpg
(Played by Iddo Goldberg.)

"Oh, my Ada. I'm just a poor Communist frog with a big mouth."
Freddie to Ada

A Communist agitator—Bolshevik unionizer specifically—and married to Ada Shelby.

  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Season one finale, Freddie returns with the last gun, to fight alongside the Peaky Blinders.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Ada.
    Freddie: I love her, Tommy. I've loved her since she was 9 and I was 12.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: After being a major part of season 1, Freddie dies between seasons 1 and 2 of illness.
  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl
    Ada: I'm with you 'cause you're the only man 'round here not scared of them.
    Freddie: Oh, I'm scared of them all right.
    Ada: But you love me more than you fear them, right?
  • Meaningful Name: Freddie Thorne, as in a thorn in Tommy's side.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Freddie and Tommy were best mates at school, used to go swimming in the river, and Freddie saved Tommy's life in France. All things that Freddie now regrets.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Freddie is presumably from Birmingham, since he grew up with the Shelbys. Iddo Goldberg uses an accent that's part-Brummie, but has Irish and Liverpool accents mixed in.

    Lizzie Stark 

Lizzie Stark

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peakyblinders_lizziestark.png
(Played by Natasha O'Keefe.)

A local prostitute in Birmingham, and later a secretary for the Peaky Blinders.

  • Amicable Exes: Lizzie and John seem to be on pretty good terms by the end of season 2, considering that he called off their engagement in Season One because she was still secretly working as a prostitute.
  • The Chew Toy: How she's treated by the Shelbys. Tommy makes her a secretary, but not only does he expect her to play the whore for him when his plans require it, the family refuses to allow her any say in who she dates or what she does in her off-hours.
  • The Flapper: Dresses the part for the Garrison reopening, and has bobbed hair as well.
  • Friend to All Children: Part of the reason John wanted to marry her, as Lizzie is very good with children and he was hoping for a mother figure to rein in his many kids. She proves to be very doting to her own child and to Charles, treating him like her own son.
  • Girl Friday: From season 2 onwards she is this to Tommy: an employee he can trust to keep quiet about his correspondence and serve as a decoy in more dangerous situations.
    Tommy: Things are starting to happen, Lizzie. I need someone who can look the other way sometimes.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: While in season 1 she proves herself unwilling/unable to give up being a prostitute to marry John, in season 2, she's one of Tommy's most trusted employees.
  • Ignored Enamoured Underling: She is Tommy's secretary and in love with him. Tommy definitely cares for her, but her love is unrequited. In the final episode of series 2, she attempts to explain her feelings to him, but gives up trying when it becomes evident that he's not even listening. This is ultimately subverted several seasons later when Tommy and Lizzie get married.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Tommy outright admits in Season Three that Lizzie is part of the reason why he didn't completely go over the edge after Grace's death.
  • Love Martyr: She loves Tommy despite the fact that he often treats her badly.
  • Mama Bear: She pulls a gun on Aberama, Tommy and Johnny Dogs when a fight breaks out too close to the house where her daughter is.
  • Morality Pet: Seems to be Tommy's, when he chooses to acknowledge it.
  • Replacement Goldfish: She may be Tommy's for his dead first-love, Greta Geraci. She does look a lot like Greta, and even asks Tommy if he's kissing her or Greta.
  • Settle for Sibling: Ironically, she ends up marrying Tommy after pining over him for several seasons, even though initially she wanted to marry John.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Moseby tries to taunt Lizzie about her former profession at a fancy event, Lizzie calmly replies that as she recalls, when he slept with he was completely wasted and couldn't get it up, leaving Moseby stunned silent. Even Tommy is impressed with her snark.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: With Tommy.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's 5'9.
  • Third-Option Love Interest: For Tommy. Series 1-3 have him in a complicated love triangle with May and Grace, and Lizzie is the third option.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Lizzie is quite bitter and moody in Season 4, which is somewhat understandable given how Tommy and the Shelbys treat her, but when she spots May in Tommy's office she rudely demands to know why she's there, snarks that Tommy can't help himself when he sees something "rich and exotic" and drunkenly refers to May as "Tommy's whore" when ranting about him to Polly. Bit rich, considering Lizzie's former profession...
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The whole Shelby/Changretta conflict ends up being kicked off because Lizzie starts dating Angel Changretta, which sends John into a rage that results in him blinding the boy.

    Danny Whizz-Bang 

Daniel "Danny Whizz-Bang" Owen

(Played by Samuel Edward-Cook.)

One of Tommy's best friends, Danny is a loyal member of the Peaky Blinders, but his daily struggles with a very serious case of shellshock, which frequently leads him to believe he is back on the frontlines makes him a bit of a liability.

  • Faking the Dead: After he accidentally kills a Italian man during one of his fits, Tommy helps him to escape the wrath of the man's brothers by staging a mock execution and funeral for him.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Almost all the men were in WWI, and none of them came back the same, but Danny Whizz-Bang was the worst affected.
    • He's even introduced having a violent flashback. Later on, he addresses Tommy as "Sergeant Major" and himself as "Private Whizz-Bang", showing that even though every man is experiencing it to some extent, he's still in the war at all times.
  • Take Care of the Kids: His last request to Tommy.

    Harry Fenton 

Harry Fenton

(Played by Neil Bell.)

  • The Bartender
  • The Confidant: To Tommy, particularly in 1.06, when it seems like the Peaky Blinders will be wiped out by Kimber and his men. Harry gives Tommy a pep talk that consists of "you're bad men, but you're our bad men".

    Charlie Strong 

Charles "Charlie" Strong

(Played by Ned Dennehy.)

The Shelbys' uncle, and the owner of a boatyard on the Cut.

  • Con Man: A mild version. Tommy's frequently telling him off for "spinning yarns" to others about Tommy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Charlie is less than fond of all this legitimate business going on in Season 2. He'd much prefer less-honorable ways of business and doesn't mind letting Tommy know it.
  • Lean and Mean: He's quite lanky and he rarely has anything nice to say.
  • The Ferryman: A rare television example, in 1.01, Charlie takes Danny Whizzbang out of Birmingham on his boat and down to London.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Never, ever smiles.
  • Mr. Exposition: He gives some concerning the fate of the Shelby's mother in the Season Five finale, confirming that she committed suicide shortly after Finn was born and had apparently been behaving highly erratically prior to that, hallucinating and claiming to speak to spirits.
  • Shipper on Deck: Seems to be one for Tommy/May - he rather pointedly tells Tommy he should give May a tour of The Garrison and later he smuggles May into Small Heath on a boat because he can see that Tommy is going crazy cooped up in Birmingham.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He seldom speaks, but when he does, he usually drops a lot of F-bombs.
  • Those Two Guys: He's rarely seen without Curly.

    Johnny Dogs 

Johnny Dogs

(Played by Packy Lee.)

A cousin through various marriages to the Shelby family, he's also loosely allied with the Lees. In season two, Tommy trusts him with running the export business at the Birmingham docks.

  • Lovable Rogue: Everyone knows Johnny's not serious about hijacking the Shelbys' booze racket, or telling fortunes at Tommy's wedding, or any of the other things he tries.
  • Romani: A Romani character played by a Romani actor, and the most visible tie to the Shelbys' Romani side.
  • Serious Business: When he hears Aberama Gold is going to show up, he insists on Charlie helping him make a proper feast because he doesn't want the Golds thinking they are poor.
  • Team Switzerland: Between the Shelbys and the Lees in season one.

    Jeremiah 

Jeremiah "Jimmy" Jesus

(Played by Benjamin Zephaniah.)

A street preacher of Jamaican origin in Birmingham.

  • Badass Preacher: More so in season 2, where he carries a gun and has taken up knocking heads again.
  • Combat Medic: Jeremiah hasn't picked up a rifle since the war, but will make wisecracks about God while he's digging a bullet out of you.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: According to Benjamin Zephaniah, Jeremiah is partially based on a real person who was known to the locals of 1920s Birmingham as Jimmy Jesus. He was a Jamaican soldier who fought with men from Birmingham in WWI, moving there after the war ended and took to roaming the streets of Birmingham preaching the Bible. There was, however, no known evidence of him being a member of a backstreet razor gang.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: He's a preacher, and his dreads reach his waist.
  • Preacher Man

    Isaiah 

Isaiah

(Played by Jordan Bolger.)

Jeremiah's teenage son, a Peaky Blinder.

  • Bash Brothers: He and Michael make quite the effective bar-brawling pair.
  • Casanova Wannabe: We never actually see him do more than flirt with and eye up women.
  • Demoted to Extra: He has faded in importance over the seasons, to the point he barely has any speaking lines.
  • Hot-Blooded: Has quite the temper, which is useful for his boxing skills.
  • The Quiet One: Even Tommy praises Isaiah's closed mouthedness, when it comes to protecting the Peaky Blinders.
  • Those Two Guys: Always seen with either Finn or Michael—the younger Peaky Blinders.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Has appeared shirtless in a number of episodes, usually while he's boxing/bare-knuckle fighting.

     Jessie Eden 

Jessie Eden

(Played by Charlie Murphy.)

"You don’t have a women’s lavatory on the second floor because no women get this far up."
Jessie, in response to being asked why she is applying her lipstick in the men's toilet at work.

A union leader at one of Tommy's factories and a member of the Stechford branch of the British Communist Party.

Other Criminals

    Billy Kimber 

Billy Kimber

(Played by Charlie Creed-Miles.)

Billy Kimber is the premier gangster in Birmingham in the first season. No one crosses him and gets away with it, so Tommy attempts to make a deal with him.

  • The Alleged Boss: Kimber is frequently shown to be dimwitted, impatient, and completely lacking in subtlety. The only thing he really has going for him is his brutality. As a result, his consigliere and Hypercompetent Sidekick, Roberts, is effectively the one who keeps the business side of his criminal empire afloat.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Inspector Campbell in Season 1.
  • Historical Domain Character: Although a few liberties are taken.
  • London Gangster: A textbook example, down to the accent.
  • No Indoor Voice: Kimber tends to shout when he talks, showing him to be a rather uncivilized thug in spite of his money and success.
  • Starter Villain: He is the first major obstacle Tommy and the Peaky Blinders are faced with and he is ultimately disposed of at the climax of the first season.
  • Slimeball: Kimber considers himself a ladies' man and master seducer. His attempt to seduce Grace, however, shows that he is neither of those things, and he quickly loses patience and tries to force himself upon Grace when it becomes clear that his token and inept attempts at being charming won't get him anywhere.

    Darby Sabini 

Darby Sabini

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peakyblinders_darbysabini.jpg
(Played by Noah Taylor.)

An Italian gangster from London, heading one of the biggest and most dangerous operations. Doesn't take kindly to the Shelbys encroaching on his territory.

    Alfie Solomons 

Alfie Solomons

(Played by Tom Hardy)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peakyblinders_alfiesolomons.jpg

A Jewish gangster operating in Camden Town, and uneasy ally of the Shelbys.

  • At Least I Admit It: Does not take it well when Tommy accuses him of "crossing the line" by selling him out to the Economic League. He becomes truly enraged that a remorseless murderer, racketeer, thief and gangster like Shelby would dare accuse him of being somehow worse than him.
    Alfie: How many fathers, how many sons, have you cut, killed, murdered, fucking butchered, innocent and guilty, sent 'em straight to fucking Hell! JUST LIKE ME! And you fucking stand there—you, judging me—stand there and talk to me about crossing some fucking line?!
  • Badass Beard: One of few characters to sport a beard and one of few characters to fear ABSOLUTELY no-one.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Prone to downright bizarre flights of verbal fancy as he is, not to mention a plethora of physical and mental tics that disconcert most people, only an idiot would underestimate Alfie. In addition to being a fearsome physical specimen, he's also lethally cunning and utterly without loyalties.
  • Character Tics: He strokes his beard when thinking.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Gives off many vibes of being this, much of the time. Doesn't mean he won't beat you to a pulp and/or kill you outright, just that he'll be creative with it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Although he's outraged that Tommy would hold him in contempt for doing, well, exactly what men like them do when he betrays him to the Economic League, he's also genuinely disturbed and regretful that Tommy's son was kidnapped as a consequence of said betrayal. He insists that he had no idea the League would take that course, and Tommy believes him.
  • Gratuitous Use of the Tallit: Wears one correctly, for once, but real Jews do not wear it during Passover.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Tommy figures out he betrayed him to the Economic League, which led to Tommy's son being kidnapped, he rages at Tommy for being a multiple murderer but acting like Alfie has "crossed a line."
  • Karma Houdini: Alfie never receives punishment for his actions, even when he betrays his allies at the drop of a hat and he tends to come out on top of most of his dealings. Even getting shot dead by Tommy didn't stick, as it's revealed in Season Five he's alive and living quite comfortably, though he is blind in one eye.
  • Kosher Nostra: The Solomons of London are a Jewish gang that control Camden Town. They even hold a seder in 2.05, during which the Jewish gangsters are wearing traditional prayer robes beneath their other attire.
  • Large Ham: One of the largest in the series, but no less terrifying.
  • London Gangster
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Solomon tends to shift his allegiance according to who can give him the best offer, and has no problem squeezing who ever comes to him for extra benefits if he can get away with it. Case in point, he betrays the Peaky Blinders once the Italians are desperate to come to him with an peace offer, and manages to pressure them, despite their very obvious reluctance, into returning all the territory they took from his gang in their own turf wars. Tommy later manages to get him back on his side, but it takes threatening him with blowing him and his headquarters up, and even then Solomons manages to score quite the favorable deal for himself.
    • In the next season, he goes along with the Shelby's until the Economic League makes him an even better offer for the loot in the White Russians' strongroom, and promptly betrays Tommy to them. Interestingly enough, Alfie insists that this trope is what all of their ilk are, have to be simply to survive, and Tommy is a fool for thinking himself different.
    • In the fourth season, Alfie returns to set up a boxing match between the Peaky Blinder's Romany challenger and the current welterweight champion of the region. And of course, almost immediately makes a deal to get Luca Changretta's men into the fight to attack and kill Arthur and possibly Tommy. Though knowing that this would likely fail, it's possible Alfie just did this to anger Tommy so he would be killed by him, rather than succumbing to his cancer.
  • Pet the Dog: Alfie has a dog he apparently genuinely cares about. When he reveals to Tommy he is Secretly Dying, he asks Tommy to find someone to look after his dog.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He calls Anglo-Italian gangster Darby Sabini "a fuckin' wop." Of course, Darby's pretty racist himself.
  • Secretly Dying: Alfie doesn't make an appearance in season 4 until quite a ways in, and once he does, it's noticeable he's looking somewhat more ragged and with some sort of skin condition, like a severe eczema. It isn't until his very last scene in the final episode he reveals to Tommy he has extensive cancer, probably from the gas during the war.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: We knew Alfie's apology for turning on Arthur in season two and team-up with the Shelbys in season three was too good to last. He sells Tommy out to the Economic League and gets Charles kidnapped.
  • Troll: As seen with in his negotiations with... well, almost everyone, Alfie does have a pronounced and definite predilection for fucking with people just because it amuses him.
  • Verbal Tic: Alfie cannot go more than a couple of sentences without using the word "mate". He throws in "yeah?" a lot as well.

    Luca Changretta 

Luca Changretta

(Played by Adrien Brody.)

The son of Vincente Changretta who has moved to America and built a Mafia empire. The circumstances of his father's death cause him to return to England and target the Peaky Blinders.

  • Big Bad: Of Season 4.
  • The Don: For the Sicilian-American branch of the Changretta family.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Luca's father was very dear to him, so in retribution for the Shelbys ordering his death, he's going to destroy every single one of them.
  • Honor Before Reason: He lampshades the fact that the smart move would have been for him to have the Shelbys assassinated right away before they had time to prepare. However, he intends to honor his father by following the traditions of the Sicilian Vendetta and that requires that he first informs his targets that he is coming to kill them.
  • The Mafia: Leads a branch of it. Luca is Sicilian, can call on soldiers on both sides of the Atlantic, and is a hell of a lot more dangerous than his old man ever was.
  • New Old Flame: Shockingly, he's Polly's, meeting with her in a bar to reminisce over old times.
  • Oral Fixation: Instead of smoking, Luca is usually seen with a toothpick in his mouth.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: The Sicilian-American Black Hand are a kind of gangster that the Shelbys haven't encountered before.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Even moreso than Tommy, usually the pre-eminent dresser on the show.
  • Smug Snake: For all of his pretensions of culture, style, and family connections, it turns out he's just another arrogant criminal lowlife. When he thinks that he's beaten the Shelbys, he drops his veneer of professionalism and demonstrates how much of a loathsome Jerkass he is. He gropes and insults Polly, takes great relish in the prospect of destroying the Shelbys' lives, gloats about murdering John and Arthur Jr., and forces Tommy to sign over all of his businesses on his knees, simply to humiliate him.
  • Wicked Cultured: "I'm just here as a lover of the theatre."
  • Worthy Opponent: While most of the show's main villains so far have been characterized as brutes, rapists, and even pedophiles, Luca Changretta stands out as an oddly honourable figure. Sure, he's a murderous Mafia guy, but he's never needlessly cruel, is motivation is sympathetic, he Wouldn't Hurt a Child, and he's pretty clearly not really any worse a guy than Tommy.

Other Characters

    May Fitz-Carleton 

May Fitz-Carleton

(Played by Charlotte Riley.)

A horse-trainer and widow that Tommy encounters at an auction. She trains his racehorse for Epsom, and falls for Tommy along the way.

  • Aborted Arc: Was set up to be Tommy's long-term love interest in season two, planning a business (and potentially romantic) future together. Come season three, Tommy is married to Grace and May is nowhere to be found, with no explanation of what happened. It could potentially be a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as Charlotte Riley was unavailable due to other commitments and a real-life pregnancy during season three's filming. She does return in Season Four.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Well, she's in love with Tommy Shelby.
    May: Well, you've told me about her like a gentleman. Now kindly go back to behaving like a gangster.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Well, she is a horse-trainer and tells Esme that she grew up riding, something the notoriously standoffish Esme actually approves of.
  • Broken Bird: When it comes to matters of the heart. She's falling for Tommy, but it's been hard for her after her husband died in WWI, having to run the horse-training business herself. She likens herself to a lighthouse, saying she's kept everyone else away and hidden in her mansion.
  • Femme Fatale: Subverted. She dresses the part of one, but she's actually upfront and honest about her intentions.
  • Only Sane Man: During all the chaos of season four, a refreshing change is Curly updating her on what's going on, and her "oh my god, you're all insane" reactions.
  • Rich Boredom: May admits that being around Tommy makes her feel alive, something her cut-throat, stifling background doesn't afford her.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Doing business with gangsters doesn't frighten her, nor does walking into a very rough part of Birmingham all alone.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: She tears up when thinking of her deceased husband, but is quick to brush it aside. Later when Tommy attempts to break up with her, May is visibly upset but keeps her composure anyway...and it helps that Tommy seems rather reluctant to break things off...

    Tatiana Petrovna 

Duchess Tatiana Petrovna

(Played by Gaite Jansen.)

An exiled Georgian duchess, Tatiana is a major player in her aunt and uncle's plans for setting up the Shelbys.

  • Aristocrats Are Evil
  • The Baroness: Well, Duchess, but the tropes apply: cold, ruthless, sadistic, sexual.
  • Cute But Psycho: Tatiana is gorgeous. She's also completely deranged, even trying to play Russian Roulette with Tommy and pulling the trigger on herself.
  • Death Seeker: Anyone willing to put a loaded gun to her temple and repeatedly pull the trigger is probably one of these.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even she seemed creeped out by Father Hughes.
  • Evil Gloating: She gleefully informs Tommy that the sapphire he gave Grace is cursed and even after Grace is dead, she continuously brings her up to taunt him.
  • Femme Fatale: Is she ever. Flat-out tells Tommy she was going to seduce him to make sure of his cooperation, and informs him she still might.
  • Foil: To Tommy. Both are the frontrunners in their family's power schemes. Both are incredibly cold and calculating. Both use their charm and sex appeal to get what they want, and if that fails, resort to violence. Both have an aunt who truly calls the shots in their family.
  • Rich Bitch

     Izabella Petrovna 

Grand Duchess Izabella

(Played by Dina Korzun)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/izabellapetrovna.jpg

An aristocrat in exile, she is plotting to overthrow the communists in Russia. The aunt of Princess Tatiana and wife of Leon.

    Leon Petrovich 

Grand Duke Leon Petrovich

(Played by Jan Bijvoet)

An exiled Georgian duke, he's been camping out at the Ritz eating caviar while his wife Izabella plots to overthrow the "red" Russians.

  • The Alcoholic: Can't hold his vodka, and gets very nastily drunk if he touches the stuff.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil
  • Big Eater: Particularly caviar.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Plays the charming exiled aristocrat well, but as he shows Tommy during their lunch at the Ritz, he will do very bad things to see his family restored.
  • Henpecked Husband: Grand Duchess Izabella pulls the strings in this family. She even tells Leon if he's allowed to drink or not.

    Reuben Oliver 

Reuben Oliver

(Played by Alexander Siddig)

A painter related by marriage to Grace, he finds his eye drawn by Polly at Tommy and Grace's wedding dinner.

  • Give Geeks a Chance: He's an Adorkable middle-class widower and painter who wears bow ties while Polly's a Nouveau Riche notorious gangster.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Polly is his. He's honestly infatuated with her and willing to "enter her world", however dangerous. She's afraid he's only after an affair, or worse, using her to feed information to her enemies.
  • Nice Guy: What he appears to be, smitten by Polly and friendly to the rest of the Shelbys.
  • Put on a Bus: Was plotting a life with Polly at the end of season 3, but after the shocking events of 3.06 and 4.01, is nowhere to be found in season 4.
  • Reclusive Artist: Seems to be very talented, but withdrawn and has few friends.
  • Romancing the Widow: Besides being a widower himself, he informs Polly fairly straightforwardly that he plans to seduce her. She seems to be all right with the idea.
  • Tranquil Fury: Only loses his temper when Polly suggests he's joking about her to all of his friends—he quietly and emotionally informs her that his only friends were through his wife, and she's dead.

    Father John Hughes 

Father Hughes

(Played by Paddy Considine)

An Irish priest with his fingers in many pies: the Russians, the Economic League and matters of the church back in Birmingham.

  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With the other members of the Economic League.
  • Evil Is Petty / A God Am I: After Tommy (accurately) accuses him of informing to the Soviets, Hughes extorts him into publicly apologizing by reciting the Catholic Act of Contrition with Hughes' name in place of God's.
  • The Heavy: While only just one of the many members of the Economic League, he's the one with the most influence to the plot for season 3.
  • Irish Priest
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Pedophile Priest gets murdered bloodily by a boy he abused when he was younger.
  • Pedophile Priest: Hinted-at in his first appearance in 3.01, when he tells Tommy he expects to visit the children in the orphanage the Shelbys are building. In 3.05, it's revealed that he molested Michael at age six when Michael was taken from Polly and put into Hughes' care.
  • Sinister Minister: Right from his very first appearance.

    Aberama Gold 

Aberama Gold

(Played by Aidan Gillen)

Head of a very old and well-respected Romany family, called in by the Shelbys to assist with the threat posed by the Black Hand.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Tommy is the only one to support calling on him for help, and even he makes it clear that these are extenuating circumstances.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone freaks out when his name is mentioned, with multiple Shelbys questioning if even contacting him is a good idea.
  • New Old Flame: He and Polly knew each other from way back and it's implied they once had romantic feelings for each other, which they start up again in Season Four. Unfortunately, just after Aberama proposes to Polly, he's killed in the Season Five finale.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: In "Black Cat", The Billy Boys come for him and while it looks like they intend to murder him, they instead leave him alive to deliver a message before crucifying Bonnie right in front of him.
  • Papa Wolf: He adores his son and when he dies, he falls into total despair and goes on a vicious Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge him.
  • Psycho for Hire: Set up as this, although so far, it seems like his reputation is exaggerated. This is kind of a twist, since his actor is probably best known for playing the supremely-treacherous Littlefinger on Game of Thrones.
  • Shrouded in Myth: No one knows very much about him, with his son Bonnie and his three as yet unseen daughters being the only proof he has a side other than violence.
  • The Worf Effect: He's set up as a dangerous Psycho for Hire in Season Four, but in Season Five he's pretty effortlessly neutralised by The Billy Boys and can only watch helplessly as they murder his own son before his eyes.

    Oswald Mosley 

Oswald Mosley

(Played by Sam Claflin)
  • Big Bad: Of Season 5 and presumably six as well.
  • Historical Domain Character: Oswald Mosley was a real life politican in Britain.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The real Oswald Mosley led a facist political party, but the show has thus far made him into a Nazi in all but name.
  • Large Ham: When speaking publically, giving off a very Hitler like vibe.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!!
  • Your Cheating Heart: At one point when he attempts to blackmail Tommy, Tommy casually replies that he knows Oswald is cheating on his wife with both her younger sister and her mother, and Oswald also eagerly beds the lead ballerina at the ballet when given the chance to as well.


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