Peaky Blinders: Did Winston Churchill and Tommy Shelby meet in real life?
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Over the past five seasons of Peaky Blinders, three different actors have portrayed the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Death at a Funeral’s Andy Nyman played the role in season one, followed by 1917’s Richard McCabe in season two. The Football Factory’s Neil Maskell joined the cast as Churchill in season five. Did Winston Churchill and Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) meet in real life? Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
Did Winston Churchill and Tommy Shelby meet in real life?
When viewers were introduced to Winston Churchill in season one of Peaky Blinders, he was the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
He hired Inspector Campbell (Sam Neill), a man who would go on to become the Peaky Blinders’ enemy to retrieve his stolen machine guns.
Campbell was successful in retrieving the weapons and assured Churchill the Peaky Blinders would be punished for their crimes.
At the beginning of season two, Churchill granted Campbell permission to carry out an assassinate on behalf of the crown. Inspector Campbell chose Tommy to carry out the killing of Field Marshal Henry Russell (James Richard Marshall).
However, Churchill made a separate deal with Tommy and granted him many requests such as offering him an Empire export licence which would cover India, Malay Peninsula, Canada and Russia.
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In a turn of events, Churchill played a vital part in saving Tommy’s life after hearing the news Campbell planned to assassinate Tommy using members of the Red Right Hand.
Churchill used his connections in government to save Tommy and offered the Brummie kingpin another job on behalf of the crown.
Throughout seasons three and four of Peaky Blinders, Tommy continued to carry out assassinations of behalf of the crown and Churchill in exchange for money.
Churchill was largely absent from season five, but when he heard Tommy had been spying on Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) for the British government, he instructed the leader of the Peaky Blinders to do everything in his power to take down the fascist MP.
He also offered assistance and requested Tommy to contact him if he needed help.
Sadly, this scene was fictional and Tommy and Churchill did not meet in real life.
While Churchill is a real historical figure, Tommy Shelby is entirely fictitious.
The Shelby family is fictional and are based on the real 19th-century urban young gang, called the Peaky Blinders.
Although the Peaky Blinders were a notorious Birmingham gang, it is very unlikely they ever crossed paths with Churchill, a Westminster politician.
The real Peaky Blinders were mainly active in the 1890s and early 1900s, whereas the BBC series takes place in the 1920s.
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In the series, the Peaky Blinders met Churchill in the show’s timeline in the 1920s, when he was serving as the Secretary of State for War and Air and Secretary of State for the Colonies.
By the show’s fifth season, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position he held between 1924 and 1929.
Churchill did not become prime minister until 1940, serving until 1945 and again from 1951 until 1955.
Also, it is highly unlikely the former Prime Minister was involved with Birmingham-based gangs and spy rings.
However, one of the show’s storylines regarding Churchill is very much true, but the involvement of the Peaky Blinders is not accurate.
At the end of season two, Tommy’s life was spared at the last minute and he was sent on a top-secret mission by Churchill to bring down the Labour government.
At the time, Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was in power after winning the 1924 election.
MacDonald was looking to improve relations with the Soviet Union amid fears of communism.
Speaking to The Sun, Knight explained: “There were very powerful groups of people — politicians, Army generals and members of the Church — who formed a sort of sub-government in the early Twenties because when Labour rose to power it was a real shock to them.
“They set up a secret organisation to try to affect policy and bring the MacDonald government down.”
“There was a minority Labour government in power for the first time
and Churchill was among those who were disenfranchised.
“People like him [Churchill] would have been instrumental.
“Having said that, Churchill would have very quickly distanced himself from those sorts of characters.
“There were powerful people who wanted to sever relations between Britain and the Soviet Union.”
Peaky Blinders is streaming on Netflix now
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