If you’re one of the six million Americans who tuned in to BBC America to watch season 4 of Peaky Blinders, then you already know what all the fuss is about. If not, then you have some catching up to do. This period drama follows the Shelby family as they work together to rise to the top of their criminal enterprise, right under the nose of their enemies at the Birmingham Police Department. No matter how good your drama might be, though, it’s nothing without an excellent cast to bring the characters and their antics to life. Get to Know the Man Behind the Hair: Peaky Blinders Star Ian Peck
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What he looks like today
Ian looks as handsome as ever, having recently been named one of Britain’s Sexiest Men by GQ magazine. He is still part of the ensemble cast and he will be returning for series 4. He says that he has a lot more screentime than in previous series, which is great news for all those who love him! His role in Peaky Blinders is just another example of how talented Ian is, and how lucky we are to have him on our screens.
How he became a fan of the show
[Peaky Blinders] was a show that I had been wanting to watch for about a year. A friend of mine, who had seen it said, ‘This is such a good show. You need to watch it.’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah – whatever you say.’ Then he says, ‘No no no. This is actually an incredible series. You have got to watch it!’ And then he sent me one episode and so I watched it on my iPad and fell in love with it immediately.
His acting career began when…
While some of us were honing our jump shots or perfecting a fouetté, Ian Peck was dreaming of his next acting role. The Liverpool native studied drama at Manchester Metropolitan University and has since become a household name on British television. Though he’s a veteran of both film and TV, most U.S. audiences will recognize him from his recurring role as Mickey on HBO’s The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. There’s also his performance as Charles Dickens in Dickensian and his guest appearances on shows like Ripper Street, Murdered by My Boyfriend and Cardinal Burns. Nowadays, he plays Philip Shelby in Netflix’s hit series Peaky Blinders, returning for its third season later this year.
What it’s like working with Cillian Murphy
Working with Cillian Murphy is always a pleasure. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with their favourite actor? But it’s more than that – there’s a real bond and friendship between us, I think because of how long we have known each other now. We are great mates and really enjoy working together. That was never truer than on series 3 of Peaky Blinders. The drama is getting darker and edgier with each season but I also feel like there is an element of fun too – we certainly let our hair down (literally) on set! There was a scene where my character got to shave Arthur in his underwear for instance which certainly made me laugh when I saw it back!
A typical day in his life as an actor
When you’re working on a big show like Peaky Blinders, it’s generally easier than most to predict your schedule. But when you have five kids and your wife is also an actor, things get a little more complicated. My eldest is 15 and I have one who is 12. So they’re all at different schools, my youngest three are in primary school—so luckily for me it means that I don’t go out of home that much! The longest time I spend out of home is four hours when I shoot in Birmingham or up north…I am always working from home so my youngest two love it because Daddy keeps them company! My wife works away a lot as well so we are pretty used to doing our own thing!
Why was Curly recast in Peaky Blinders?
I guess it’s a cliché, but I think every character you play is a part of you. Even if they are vastly different from yourself. Of course, in portraying Curly, it was important to me that he was likable and lovable; that he has charm and warmth. But I also want people who watch Peaky Blinders to feel like they get some insight into my own personality through Ian Peck—that they can see me as something other than Curly. That said, there’s a lot of me in all my characters. And when I look at photos of me throughout my life, it’s hard not to see how much I’ve changed physically over time—but how little I’ve changed mentally or emotionally.
Did they change the actor for Curly in Peaky Blinders?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Peaky Blinders, it is a Netflix crime drama about a gangster family in post-World War I Birmingham, England. The show focuses on Arthur Shelby (Cillian Murphy), who leads his crime family into forced legitimacy, but soon finds himself amidst an industrial conflict and embroiled in an escalating underworld feud. We recently had actor Ian Peck join us for an exclusive interview where he talks about what it was like playing one of our favorite characters, Curly (pictured above) on BBC’s hit TV series. In fact, we think you’ll love his story so much that we wanted to share with you here!
Is Curly related to Tommy?
(SPOILER ALERT!): According to executive producer Caryn Mandabach, both Tommy and Curly are played by actor Cillian Murphy. So it’s unclear if Curly is related to Tommy, or just a fan of his fellow gangster. But because show creator Steven Knight has called Birmingham, England-based Peaky Blinders my version of The Godfather, it’s pretty clear that there will be plenty more connections between characters in seasons to come.