‘Peaky Blinders’: Made in Birmingham With Love From Everywhere

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The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders is here, and fans of the Shelby family and its allies are bracing themselves for what looks to be an explosive final chapter.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this fictional story inspired by the real turn-of-the-century Birmingham gang of the same name is the cool and creative time-traveling fandom it inspired. Every popular franchise has its following, and Peaky Blinders’ world beyond the series is very distinct.

As this series draws to a close, here is a short look at some wonderful things this show has inspired.

The Dance Theatre

London-based contemporary dance company, Rambert Dance, was behind the amazing choreography for the “Swan Lake” dance performance in season five. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight wrote the scene after being impressed by the company’s performance at the Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival in Birmingham in 2019. Starting in September, Rambert Dance will bring its touring show Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Tommy Shelby to several locations throughout the UK. The performance, written and adapted by Knight and choreographed and direct by Rambert’s Benoit Swan Pouffer, will tour through May of 2023. Hopefully, it will make its way to other locations around the globe.

The Musical Legacy

The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival included everything from immersive experiences to food and dance, but two days of live music was the big draw. That’s no surprise. From the opening scene of the first season, it was made pretty clear the Peaky Blinders soundtrack was going in its own direction, regardless of the era in which the story was set. It is nearly impossible to dissociate Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s “Red Right Hand” from the series, even though Cave released the song in 1994, long before Peaky Blinders was even a thing. Add music from the likes of PJ Harvey, David Bowie, Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Laura Marling, and way too many more to list, and Peaky Blinders’ eclectic music has a life of its own. In addition to inspiring the festival, the official soundtrack also came out that year, collecting the best of the series music from seasons 1 to 5. It’s a pretty impressive set, especially on vinyl.

Since its use in Peaky Blinders, “Red Right Hand” has been given its own new life with covers by Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker, PJ Harvey, Laura Marling, and Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Shelby).

The Culinary World

Peaky Blinders is a show intended for grown-ups, and a significant part of the Shelby legacy is their booze, more specifically the “best gin in Birmingham.” The Sadler’s company of the UK created Peaky Blinder rum, gin, and whiskey, which may be hard to find in some places. No matter, those who enjoy mixology can make their own Peaky Blinders-inspired drinks with whatever brand of whiskey or gin they prefer with the help of The Official Peaky Blinders Cocktail Book: 40 Cocktails Selected by The Shelby Company Ltd. released in 2020.

Ironically, I’m not really a drinker, but I love the art of mixology. However, I do enjoy a good meal, and it looks like the Official Peaky Blinder Cookbook: 50 Recipes Selected by the Shelby Company Ltd. will be joining the cocktail book come April of this year.

‘Peaky Blinders’ inspired drink and cookbooks taste of Birmingham, circa 1920. Photo collage: Lisa Tate

There are plenty of “unofficial” cookbooks and cocktail books available, but it is good to know there are a  official selections for the superfans.

The Fanart Appreciation

It is inevitable. Anything that’s popular leads to fanart. The BBC took advantage of some of very talented fan artists of various backgrounds from all over the UK by curating a fanart exhibition for the fifth season. More than a 1,000 artists turned in art, and 16 were chosen to be displayed through different online platforms as well as in a nationwide poster campaign. The work that came in was incredible and diverse, and some of this fan designed art is also available to purchase through the official Peaky Blinders shop.

For this last season the Peaky Blinders Instagram put out a #LastOrders challenge, asking for more people to show off their fanart. The fans did not disappoint:

Finally, Birmingham street artist Akse P19 was commissioned to create a 12-meter-high (nearly 40 foot) mural announcing the date of the final season on the side of a building in the Digbeth area of central Birmingham.

From art to music or dance and drinks, the world of the Shelby brothers will have an effect on fans long after the series has ended, and I’m there for it… by order of the Peaky Blinders!

The sixth season of Peaky Blinders begins streaming Sunday, February 27 on BBC 1 and on the BBC iPlayer. The Netflix release date has not yet been announced.

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