In an interview with the New York Times, creator Steven Knight discussed how “Peaky Blinders” had altered British people’s perception of Birmingham. For Knight, making the city appear interesting and cool was challenging. The screenwriter compared Birmingham to Liverpool and Manchester, pointing out how the latter two were famous for being the birthplace of a rock band and for having good nightlife, but Birmingham didn’t have much going for it … until the Shelby family began calling it home.
“Part of the challenge in the beginning was to try and make Birmingham — which was a blank canvas at best before — cool. To give it a story. Liverpool has the Beatles and Manchester has the nightclub scene, Birmingham never really had anything.”
Knight also revealed that in the early stages of production, it was suggested that the story be moved to London — that a different city could be chosen for its setting. The showrunner believes Birmingham being a “blank canvas” helped him redesign its mythology for the show, and explained why it seemed to work.
“There was a suggestion in the early days of moving the story to London or another city, and I said no. I think the fact that Birmingham was a blank canvas helped because there were no preconceptions.”