Peaky Blinders has quickly become one of the most popular TV shows of the year, captivating audiences with its gritty storylines and dynamic characters. We’ve all fallen in love with Tommy Shelby and his gang of miscreants, but it’s another character who’s captured our hearts—Lizzie Shelby, played by Natasha O’Keeffe. Introducing Lizzie Shelby: The Fierce Femme Fatale of Peaky Blinders
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The Real Life Inspiration for Peaky Blinders
Meet Natasha O’Keeffe, nee Stark. She’s a musician, actress and model from Birmingham, England who has appeared in Doctor Who and Star Wars as well as walking for Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen. But it’s her role as Elizabeth Shelby on BBC Two drama series Peaky Blinders that’s really captured our attention… just in time for Christmas.
What is Peaky Blinders?
About that title—peaky blinders. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a turn-of-the-century British gangster show on Netflix. It’s amazing, and season 4 just came out. It centers around a family led by Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) who make their money off of loan sharking and gambling in post-World War I Birmingham, England. I think what makes it so wonderful is that it combines a number of different genres together—there are elements of crime drama, historical drama, historical fiction, thriller.
Who plays Lizzie?
Natasha O’Keeffe. Natasha is a Welsh actress and model, best known for her role as Beth Cafferty in Hollyoaks between 2014 and 2016. This will be her first major role in a period drama and she’s set to appear on British screens later in 2017, when series three of Peaky Blinders begins airing on BBC Two. Based on its success so far, she could well be known as a femme fatale before long!
Meet the rest of the cast
Peaky Blinders , which airs on BBC2 in Britain and Netflix internationally, follows members of Birmingham’s Shelby crime family in 1920s England. After its gangster-tinged premiere last year, it picked up an international fan base for its portrayal of fast cars, quick-witted speech, black coats, and a deep appreciation for Tom Hardy. (It’s no coincidence that we just described two very popular podcasts.) Earlier in 2016 it was announced that Cillian Murphy would be departing from his role as Tommy Shelby after three seasons; however, it was revealed that he will return for season 4 and a fifth series has been commissioned. Here are some other faces you might not know yet but soon won’t be able to forget.
What are viewers saying about this show?
With only two seasons under its belt, BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders is one of Britain’s most acclaimed television dramas. Created by Steven Knight and starring Cillian Murphy as a razor-sharp gangster in post-World War I Birmingham, Peaky Blinders paints a picture of an England recovering from war, desperate to reinvent itself—and where powerful men vie for control over factories and money. In Season 2, when Tommy Shelby (Murphy) makes his move to take down factory owner John Gray, he brings home a fiery new wife in Lizzie (played by Natasha O’Keeffe), who fans have hailed as one of their favorite new characters. Here are 5 reasons why…
The Peaky Blinders are back in season 4, but it will be their most perilous season yet. Cillian Murphy returns as Tommy Shelby alongside Helen McCrory as Aunt Polly and Paul Anderson as Arthur. Harry Kirton plays his wayward son Michael, who is forced to question everything he has known after coming face-to-face with a hero from his past in 1919 Birmingham. Adrien Brody joins us as charismatic American gangster Luca Changretta, who swaggers into Birmingham intent on disrupting Tommy’s mob from within.
A look behind the scenes
I was introduced to Cillian [Murphy] and Steve [Knight, director] through my agent. I was told it was an 8-part period drama set in 1920s Birmingham, U.K., and they were going to shoot on location in Liverpool. My agent told me that as far as he knew, it wasn’t a big budget production and I’d be working alongside some brilliant actors – Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory. At first I was really quite nervous about meeting them because they were very established by then, especially Helen McCrory who I had been a fan of for many years. However we got on really well from day one, which put me at ease straight away!
Who did Lizzie sleep with?
In seasons 1 and 2, viewers assumed that Lizzie, who married Tommy Shelby in season 1 and shares his hatred for Alfie, slept with her husband’s arch-enemy. But it turns out she only had a hand in killing him by feeding him poisoned whiskey after he tried to rape her on their wedding night. If he really was the love of [her] life, as she told Tommy, why did she keep such a terrible secret from him? Why didn’t she tell Tommy what really happened when he finally found out about Alfie?
Is Natasha O’Keeffe in Peaky Blinders season 6?
No. Natasha O’Keeffe has never been cast in Peaky Blinders season 6, nor will she be in future seasons. We apologize for any confusion that may have resulted from us referring to her as a cast member. At present, it does not look like Natasha O’Keeffe will return to Peaky Blinders at all.
Is Lizzie Stark a Shelby?
Some fans have speculated that Lizzie is actually related to Tommy, as she was known to be keen on horseback riding when they first met. She was also rumored to have been married before at a young age, which would make her eligible for marriage under Asher’s Law. For example, if she were nee Stark (meaning Natasha is not her birth name and therefore does not inherit Stark) or if someone in her family were a legitimate heir (such as Lydia), she would be required by law to marry that person in order to preserve their rights; however, there are no records of her name or family listed in any official documents.
Is Lizzie in Peaky Blinders the same actor?
No, Natasha O’Keeffe is actually a stage and film actress born in Portsmouth, UK. Her TV credits include WPC Lucy Hall in Casualty, Jennifer Ward in Bedlam and Claire in Death in Paradise. She has also appeared on stage in productions such as Medea, A Woman Killed with Kindness, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and The School for Scandal. O’Keeffe can currently be seen on screen opposite Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory.