A devastatingly beautiful young woman whose looks and charm mask her real identity, Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle) has the dangerous role of seducing and distracting military intelligence officers. The youngest daughter of Thomas (Paul Anderson) and Polly Shelby (Helen McCrory), Ada grew up with her brothers Arthur (Joe Cole), John (Jack Rowan), Michael (Finn Cole), and Thomas Jr. (Sam Claflin) in the slums of Birmingham, England. The Glamorous and Fierce Ada Thorne of Peaky Blinders

Who is Ada in the BBC’s Peaky Blinders?

I want to draw attention to a powerful character in Peaky Blinders, a woman who is smart, strong, savvy, yet incredibly vulnerable at times. Her name is Ada Shelby; she goes by Thorne after she gets married. She’s Tommy’s sister-in-law (we later find out that his brother got her pregnant when she was still underage), played brilliantly by Sophie Rundle. If you haven’t watched it yet but want to learn more about her role in season 4, go ahead and do that… or not! I won’t tell anyone. I’ll be here when you get back. For those of you who are up-to-date on your BBC binge watching, allow me to take a moment to explain why I love Mrs.

What should we know about her?

In only its third season, BBC’s wildly popular gangster drama Peaky Blinders has already introduced us to an eclectic mix of characters. And yet, one character continues to stand out from all others: Ada Thorne. Played by actress Sophie Rundle, née Shelby, Thorne is fiercely intelligent, quick-witted and daring. She wears tailored suits with high-heeled boots; she is a savant at social gatherings; and she loves her family fiercely. At first glance, she seems in control—but that is not necessarily true for a woman in her position living during such troubled times.

The Glamorous and Fierce Ada Thorne of Peaky Blinders
The Glamorous and Fierce Ada Thorne of Peaky Blinders

What was it like playing such a character?

How was it to be a part of such an amazing cast? How did you prepare for your role in Peaky Blinders? Did you know about Michael Gray (Tom Hardy) before joining? Was it intimidating to meet him? What is he like to work with, or what is he like as an actor, just out of curiosity. What was your experience being directed by Otto Bathurst in his first television project? Are there any particular memories that stood out, if so how so? Your character is described as a femme fatale, do you agree with that description and why/why not. Can we expect future interactions between Ada and Michael Gray (Tom Hardy)? And lastly: when can we expect season 4?! 😉 Thank you so much!

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How did she compare to your previous roles?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on some great projects since I graduated drama school, but I can honestly say that Peaky Blinders has been by far my most challenging role yet. It was an opportunity to show a different side to me, to use all my years of training from drama school and really expand as an actress. I always start from scratch with each role, but with Ada it felt even more like a blank slate than usual. She is such a richly drawn character and she goes through so much emotional trauma in series 3, as well as numerous physical challenges – one scene had me handcuffed for about 7 hours! – so there was certainly no shortage of acting opportunities.

You have been working since you were 15. Is there anything you’ve learned along the way that you can tell us about?

I’m a big believer in learning something new every day, even if it’s just a word or an expression. I know that as long as you continue to learn and grow, there’s always going to be something to look forward to. I like being surrounded by people who are talented, smart, humble and respectful—they make me better. And lastly, believe in yourself. Self-doubt can be crippling at times—but it doesn’t have to be! You are capable of anything if you want it bad enough; don’t ever let anyone else tell you differently.

The Glamorous and Fierce Ada Thorne of Peaky Blinders
The Glamorous and Fierce Ada Thorne of Peaky Blinders

What are your future plans after Peaky Blinders?

I’m not entirely sure. I’m going to have a break for six months or so, do some theater, go out with friends that I’ve kind of neglected through work because it does get all-consuming sometimes. And then who knows what’s next. But it’s exciting to be in that position, not knowing what’s coming up next—because you just don’t know if it’s something amazing or something horrible! So I can’t wait to see. It’s like Christmas every day when you wake up as an actor.

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Did they change the actress for Ada in Peaky Blinders?

As a huge fan of BBC’s Peaky Blinders, I was shocked to see they had recast one of my favorite characters, Ada Thorne (née Shelby). At first I thought it was just a new actress playing her. But it wasn’t. The new actress who plays Ada is Sophie Rundle. I’ve watched all three seasons, so I’m not worried about them botching a character that I loved from Season 1. Now, after watching Season 3, Episode 1 [Episode One], I can confirm that Sophie Rundle will do an excellent job portraying one of Birmingham’s most beloved beauties. With that said, let’s take a closer look at Season 3!

Who are Adas child Peaky Blinders?

The basic premise of Peaky Blinders is that Tommy Shelby, a World War I veteran living in Birmingham, England, seeks to use criminal means to make money. His family—the Shelbys—are prominent in England. In addition to Tommy’s older brother Arthur (Paul Anderson), who was seriously injured by shrapnel during his military service, there are two sisters: Grace (Annabelle Wallis) and Jessie (Charlie Murphy). The most glamorous member of the family is Ada (Sophie Rundle). At some point, she married a member of an Italian family called Adas or became related through marriage; on screen, she is referred to as Ada Thorne.

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Who is the father of Adas second baby?

In series 4, episode 1, Ada is talking to Richard Carlisle on a train. They both ask each other where they should go (it has just been revealed that Adas husband has been killed). It is hard to hear what he says but it sounds like I’m married. This could mean that Richard Carlisle, who was in love with her back in series 2, is still married, as he was. If you look closely at Richard Carlisle’s hands when they are on top of each others’ you can see his wedding ring still on his finger. He may have said I’m dead or something along those lines because his wife is obviously dead because she shot herself (in series 3) and it would make sense for him to say he is dead.

How is Ada related to Thomas Shelby?

Thomas Shelby is her cousin by marriage. Her father married Thomas’ mother. (Which might make Tommy, who was orphaned as a child, her step-cousin.) She’s always known him to be a force for good in Birmingham, but she never knew about his criminal enterprises until season 2 of Peaky Blinders . She also didn’t know that he killed their father until much later in season 3 when he returns from WWI with post-traumatic stress disorder and has been using morphine heavily. In episode 4 when Tommy gets clean again at Brumley Hall Hospital, she discovers that he not only killed their father but also murdered another man who had gotten into an altercation with Winston Churchill during WWI.

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