Women’s role in real Peaky Blinders: ‘Fighting side by side with men’March 13, 2022
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‘Peaky Blinders’ returns to BBC One tonight, with new episodes of the series broadcast every Sunday. This is the final season of the hit show, which is set after World War 1 and follows the Birmingham crime gang led by Tommy Shelby. Viewers will be delighted by Episode 3, ‘Gold’, which features ‘This Is England’ star Stephen Graham. The Liverpudlian actor plays Hayden Stagg, who has a confrontation with Arthur Shelby in Liverpool.
Also in the episode, Tommy is convinced a curse has been placed on his family and he travels to a gypsy camp to try and save them.
Meanwhile, Tommy’s sister Ada Thorne takes charge of the situation and orders Arthur to head to Liverpool.
Ada, who is the only female of the Shelby siblings, initially stays out of the family’s business affairs.
However, after her interest grows, she is given a role leading the Shelby Company Limited’s US division in Series 3.
In real life, women such as Ada fought “side by side with men” in fierce conflicts involving gangs like the Peaky Blinders, according to experts.
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The claims were made in a recent BBC documentary about the gang’s origins, which uncovers the truth about the mobsters the BAFTA Award-winning drama is based on.
Professor Andrew Davies from the University of Liverpool spoke during the first episode of the two-parter, ‘The Real Peaky Blinders’, which aired earlier this week.
He said: “We have reports in some of the larger-scale gang confrontations of girls fighting side by side with the boys.
“They are involved in assaults on the police, or in assaults or attempts to intimidate witnesses.
“It seems that that is where the women and young girls are most actively taking part in the violence.”
Violence in Birmingham was common towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, the era the Peakies were active in.
With many people in the city living in squalid, cramped conditions and some resorting to crime, tension with the police often reached boiling point.
Historian Kate Lister also appeared in the BBC documentary as she discussed women’s roles in violence against the police.
The expert spoke of one riot that involved a young girl, who was among those fighting officers.
She said: “In the summer of 1874, a riot broke out in Digbeth, Birmingham.
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“Witnesses said there were up to 500, maybe 600 rioters attacking police, smashing windows and generally destroying property.
“And it wasn’t just men who were doing the rioting.
“Fifteen-year-old Julia Giblin was among the arrested rioters.”
Julia was among those seen pelting officers with stones and other projectiles.
Ms Lister said: “She had been seen by rioters carrying stones in her apron to throw at the police.
“Julia was not an isolated incident.”
‘Peaky Blinders’ airs on BBC One tonight from 9pm-10pm.
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