‘Not to be admired’ Peaky Blinders historian slams BBC drama over inaccuracies

Peaky Blinders historian discusses the shows inaccuracies

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The well-known historian Professor Carl Chinn appeared on Sunday’s BBC Breakfast to discuss the Peaky Blinders ahead of its long-awaited finale which will conclude tonight. Speaking to hosts Nina Warhurst and Chris Mason, the TV expert shared his family ties with the gang and feared the drama had glorified the flat cap-wearing criminals. 

In a preview clip that had been shared with viewers from the BBC studio, Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) was seen introducing, to some members of the Shelby family, his first-born son Erasmus (Conrad Khan), who had been conceived before the Great War.

Much to the excitement of newsreader Nina, the presenter spoke to Professor Carl, who had studied the original Peaky Blinders gangsters. 

Chris explained: “The real Peaky Blinders were not a gang in the 1920s, in Birmingham. 

“It was a generic term for the hooligans of Birmingham in the 1890s.

“And there were lots of different gangs, they were backstreet thugs that baited the police, they bullied the normal decent working-class amongst whom they lived and battled each other.

“One of the [Peaky Blinder’s members] was my great grandfather Edward Derrick, a horrible nasty man. 

The 41-year-old newsreader gasped: “Was he?”

“Who was arrested for many violent acts including attacking the police and innocent people,” the historian responded. 

He went on to say: “He was a petty thief and whose worst crime, in my opinion, was he regularly abused my great grandmother.”

“Right,” the TV host replied as Chris told viewers: “They’re not meant to be admired.”

“How did you learn about all this about Edward Derrick?” Nina wondered. 

“I knew about him growing up, then years later I researched him in the West Midlands museum police archive of criminal photographs. 

Chris told the host: “I found him and he was wearing this distinctive, silk-ish type of material, a soft-ish material scarf around his neck, twisted around the neck and knotted at the front and that was one of the signs of a Peaky Blinder. 

While discussing the show, the Birmingham specialist revealed the popular drama had “inaccuracies” and said he can’t watch the show without sharing his frustrations. 

Peaky Blinders has been on screens for almost a decade and has continued to impress fans with its blood-soaked brawls and its popular guest actors. 

Ahead of the crime drama’s TV climax, director Anthony Byrne dropped a bombshell over the forthcoming episode.

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He told Radio Times: “Episode 5 is classic Peaky. It starts and is absolutely relentless.

“And there’s a lot going on. It’s a really busy episode. 

“And it’s Tommy Shelby highly motivated and putting everything in motion,” 

Before Anthony teased: “And then 6 is revenge. That’s how I kind of view it.”

Peaky Blinders’ series 6 finale airs on Sunday, April 3 at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Series 1-5 are also available to stream on Netflix.

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