Speaking to GQ in 2019, Cillian Murphy confessed he initially thought “Peaky Blinders” had a “terrible title.” Viewers now know the name was inspired by the real-life street gang that once walked the streets of Birmingham and refers to the razor blades sewn into the flat caps of the Peaky Blinders. The show quickly amassed a fanbase following its premiere on the BBC, but has only seen its viewership grow by leaps and bounds since Netflix acquired the streaming rights for its U.S. release.
The series’ popularity is a credit to creator and showrunner Steven Knight’s terrific writing and its unmissable performances, particularly Murphy’s. “Peaky Blinders” hinges on Murphy’s character Tommy Shelby, an intimidating, dangerous man with piercing blue eyes and plenty of ambition.
The show, as Murphy’s former co-star, the late Helen McCrory (Aunt Polly), once noted, really depicts “Tommy’s interior landscape and his thought process.” Tommy holds the show together; his experiences are pivotal to its story. The crime drama’s popularity has, in turn, made Murphy a huge star across the world, forcing him to change his original career plans. The actor told GQ:
“I never wanted to see my name over a title of a movie … None of that s*** ever entered my thinking, ever.”