The series is based in part on family legend passed down to creator Steven Knight, who is from Birmingham originally, and indeed the real Peaky Blinders were historically active in and around Birmingham. The city isn’t just the setting for the BBC One drama, but akin to another character in the ensemble.
You might be surprised to learn, though, that Peaky Blinders doesn’t film exclusively (or even all that much at all, really) in Birmingham. It’s one of several dramas produced away from where it’s actually set – in that sense, Peaky Blinders is like Ozark (set in Missouri but filmed in Georgia), The Teacher (set in Bradford but filmed in Budapest), or Doctor Who (set in space but filmed in Welsh quarries).
So where does Peaky Blinders actually film, then?
Castlefield in Manchester
Both Series 5 and 6 of Peaky Blinders have filmed in Manchester, at the suggestion of director Anthony Byrne. A number of scenes are shot on sound stages and in studios managed by Screen Manchester, the local Manchester film office, while others are shot on Manchester’s remaining cobbled roads.
For series 6, Byrne (who lives in Manchester) suggested Castlefield as a location. The Peaky Blinders production team built new sets to represent Small Heath (the Birmingham area where the Peaky Blinders are based) and China Town (where Tommy Shelby will have a number of intense confrontations across series 6).
Arley Hall and Gardens
Shelby Manor is, again, not actually in Birmingham – instead, Arley Hall and Gardens in Northwich (which is near Cheshire) stand in for the crime family’s home. Both interior and exterior shots are filmed at Arley Hall.
The stately home and surrounding estates are used in a number of different film and television productions, with everything from Stay Close to Mr Tumble to Cobra to Harry Potter having filmed there. Arley Hall has been known to open to the public and host exhibitions with behind-the-scenes production information about different productions they’ve hosted in the past.
Tommy Shelby’s local church – where he goes to confession and to wrestle with his conscience – is in fact Liverpool Cathedral. It’s home to the Te Deum stained glass window, a famous piece of glasswork.
A number of Series 5 scenes were filmed in and around Liverpool, including the Shelby family’s clash with the British Union of Fascists.
Even since the beginning, Peaky Blinders was filmed away from Birmingham. The first series of Peaky Blinders was partially funded by Screen Yorkshire, a subsidy that meant the majority of the show was filmed in Yorkshire.
The Black Country Living Museum
Across its six seasons, Peaky Blinders has often filmed at the Black Country Living Museum – an open-air museum where you can walk around and tour rebuilt historic buildings. The Black Country Living Museum is 10 miles from Birmingham, which is closer than a lot of other Peaky Blinders filming locations.
Peaky Blinders begins on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 27 February.
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