Peaky Blinders Cast: Character Guide and Descriptions


Peaky Blinders is one of the most famous gangster families in modern television. Based on true events, the audience is transported to an industrial Birmingham that will turn (more than once) into a war zone, and the Peaky Blinders are always involved when the subject is violence and trouble.

Following the Shelby family as they venture their way into social status and political power, Peaky Blinders tells the stories of the family members’ adventures and misfortunes. Filled with epic shootouts and gunfight sequencestrauma, murder, betrayal, and even romance, the series is one of the best recent shows released. The show starts in 1919 and goes all the way to the beginning of the Second World War.

Even though the series has ended after six seasons, there is a movie continuation currently being developed. For new fans, it can be daunting to start this series with multiple layered characters. But there is still time to binge-watch all seasons in time to watch the movie. Here is a guide and description of the main characters from season one of the show.



9 Mr. Campbell (Sam Neill)


The great Sam Neill plays Mr. Campbell in the series. Mr. Campbell is a part of the Royal Irish Constabulary, where he works as an investigator. Campbell was hired by none other than Winston Churchill himself to investigate certain people and groups’ affiliations that were located in Birmingham. His main task is to get rid of corruption and crime in the city. He has not served in the war, which makes him weak to various characters. Campbell will lose sight of what is right and wrong to accomplish the task that was asked of him.


8 Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis)


Annabelle Wallis plays the mysterious Grace Burgess. Grace is the new barmaid of one of the most popular bars in Birmingham, The Garrison Pub. Grace is Irish and has a dark past, so the Peaky Blinders (especially the one in charge) have to be careful to not fall for her apparent ingenuity and melodic voice. The barmaid is just as sharp, if not more than most people around her.

7 Polly Gray (Helen McCrory)


Helen McCrory plays the incomparable Polly Gray in the show. Polly Gray (or Aunt Polly) raised the Shelby siblings after their mom died and dad walked out. Polly is very spiritual, not letting the gypsy side of her get erased because of prejudice from others. Polly has a strong hand in the Peaky Blinders’ decisions and is one of the few people Thomas listens to. She is the only parental figure still present in the siblings’ lives, and because of that they respect and treat her as a mother. And she does indeed scold them as if they were her own.

6 Freddie Thorne (Iddo Goldberg)


Iddo Goldberg plays the character Freddie Thorne in the show. Freddie is a prominent figure in the communist group in Birmingham. He and his family were discriminated against for being Jews. Freddie saved Tommy’s life when they were in the army, and they used to be close. He sneaks around with his unrequited love Ada, making sure her brothers won’t find out, because one thing is certain: they will not be happy about this secret relationship.


5 Ada Shelby (Sophie Rundle)


Sophie Rundle takes on the role of Ada Shelby, the only sister in the Shelby family. She is the only sibling not involved with the Peaky Blinders (initially, at least). Ada is a communist and is invested in a secret relationship with one of Tommy’s friends with whom he used to be close. Ada likes her delicate clothing and sneaking around without her siblings finding out. Don’t let appearances fool you: Ada is just as fearless as her brothers and will do what she thinks is right – even if that goes against what her family told her to do.

4 Finn Shelby (Alfie Evans-Meese and Finn Shelby)


Alfie Evans-Meese plays Finn Shelby in season one, and Harry Kirton plays the character in the other seasons. Finn is the youngest Shelby brother, and as such does not participate in the meetings or the gangster’s plans. He is always present and has a notion that their betting house is not legal. Finn is mostly kept out of the action, at least for now, since he is so young. But rest assured, as the seasons progress, he gets older and will become a part of the family’s operations and decisions, for better or worse.

3 John Shelby (Joe Cole)


Joe Cole does a wonderfully subtle job playing John Shelby, the middle brother. He is mostly quiet and listens to what his brothers are saying. John is in no way averse to violence and will use it every time he sees fit, or whenever it’s just convenient. He served in the war alongside his brothers. John will have a different contribution to the family negotiations than he originally thought, but that won’t diminish his value.

2 Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson)


Paul Anderson is malevolently incredible as the ruthless Arthur Shelby, the oldest child. He has a short temper, and because of that, he can’t normally see the long-term consequences of his impulsive actions. He would be the head of the family, due to being the firstborn, but he has to stay put and let Thomas lead after proving time and time again to be the best one to do it. This leads to more mixed feelings and anger, and will make him do reckless acts to prove his worth. He has been deeply affected by the war, just like his brothers, and it shows.

1 Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy)


Cillian Murphy is brilliant as Thomas Shelby. Thomas is the second-oldest child, but he has the brains and wit that makes him far transcend the capabilities of his other family members. Thomas is ruthless but knows when not to show all his cards. He came back from the war with severe PTSD and the violence and near-death experiences he endured changed who he was forever. Thomas doesn’t share his impossible plans with anyone, creating a sense of mystery around him and his intelligence. He is the protagonist of the show and will ultaimtely lead the Peaky Blinders to either triumph or ultimate failure.

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