Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Peaky Blinders

Go To

    open/close all folders 

The Shelbys
(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.
  • A House Divided: Most notably in seasons one and four, where the conflict of Tommy versus a member of the family (first Ada, then Polly) is highlighted.
  • Badass Family
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family
  • The Clan
  • 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?"
    • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.


Thomas "Tommy" Michael Shelby
"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.
  • 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.
  • Byronic Hero: A villainous example. Brooding, cunning and very charismatic but also cynical, troubled, and a destructive force to those around him.
  • The Chessmaster: Tommy manipulates everyone, and there are few people inside or outside the family that do not find themselves caught in his plans.
  • Cold Ham: Particularly when he wants to out-crazy an opponent.
  • 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.
  • Dating Catwoman: Falls for Grace, a spy for the police, in season one. Ends up marrying her in season three.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's implied his deadbeat father walking out on the family 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.
  • Heartbroken Badass: For most of season 2, at least until Grace shows up again. Comes back with a vengeance after Grace is killed.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 to try and come out on top.

    Aunt Polly 

Elizabeth "Polly" Gray née Shelby
"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.

  • 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.
  • Combat Haircomb: She pulls out a very long, very sharp hairpin to threaten Grace.
  • 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: You know Polly's stressed out when she starts making wisecracks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 in season three, she's had to appear much more stoic and regal.
  • 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.
"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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He's much more like his father than he wants to be.
  • 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.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Unlike Tommy, he still admires and seeks the approval of their father.


John Michael Shelby
"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 Hot Tempered 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded: When he fights.
  • In-Series Nickname: His brothers often call him "John Boy".
  • Oral Fixation: He loves chewing on his toothpicks.
  • 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: Is becoming incredibly reckless and hot tempered in season three, culminating in when he gouges Angel Changretta's eyes out for daring to date Lizzie.


Ada Thorne née Shelby
"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.
  • Aww, 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.
  • 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.
  • Dating Catwoman: Ada is seeing Freddie Thorne, resident Bolshevik unionizer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually in response to Tommy driving her crazy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: She is the only girl of 5 siblings.
  • 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.
  • 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 Shelby
(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.
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Martha Shelby née Lee
(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.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: After John is murdered by the mafia, she takes her 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 Gray
"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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Shelby
(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.
  • 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.
  • White Sheep: Seems to want nothing to do with her husband's infamous family, preferring to focus on her home life.

    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
(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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Helen Shelby née Burgess
(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.
  • 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.
  • Ice Queen/Defrosting Ice Queen: Particularly in season two, Grace is quite aloof and distant, except when she's with 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)

    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
(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.

  • 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?
  • 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
(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 1 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: With Tommy.

    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.

    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.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He seldom speaks, but when he does, he usually drops a lot of F-bombs.

    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.
  • Team Switzerland: Between the Shelbys and the Lees in season one.


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.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: He's a preacher, and his dreads reach his waist.
  • Preacher Man



(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.
  • 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
(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)

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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Well, she's in love with Tommy Shelby.
  • 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.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Doing business with gangsters doesn't frighten her, nor does walking into a very rough part of Birmingham all alone.

    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.
  • 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)

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
  • 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.
  • 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 being the only proof he has a side other than violence.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: