Arthur Shelby: Actor Nailing Peaky Blinders

By Tharmini Kenas

5th May 2020

Arthur Shelby: Actor Nailing Peaky Blinders 

He is full of anger. He is violent. But he is well-liked by the audience. Arthur Shelby of Peaky Blinders has snatched the hearts of many fans just by being erratic, vulnerable and human. 

Although he is the first-born of the Shelby family, he seldom gets the credit as all of those go to Tommy Shelby, his younger brother who took the leadership due to his big brains. 

More about Arthur Shelby, actor behind the character, the flaws, the quirks and the story. 

A Little Peek Into Peaky Blinders…


Peaky Blinders is the talk of the virtual town as more people have become the BBC TV show’s fans since Netflix started streaming it.

Peaky Blinders is a historical gangster drama series set in Birmingham post the First World War. Created by Steven Knight, the story revolves around the power battle of the Shelby siblings. 

Some of the characters are Tommy Shelby (the leading role), Arthur Shelby Jr., Ada Shelby, and Grace Shelby which are played by Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle, and Annabelle Wallis respectively. 

Remarkably, all the five episodes thus far have won respectable awards and accolades. Some of the awards are BAFTA Television Craft Awards for Best Director: Fiction, IFTA Film and Television Awards for Best Costume Designer, BAFTA Television Awards for Best Drama Series, and TV Choice Awards for Best Actor, to name a few. 

Arthur Shelby, Actor Who Is Complicated And Vulnerable

Arthur Shelby Actor

Image Source/Digital Spy

Arthur Shelby is said to be highly vulnerable due to the fact that he is always trying to prove his capabilities to his family and especially to Tommy Shelby. He is also troubled with his life, his scars and the mistakes he very often commits. 

Unfortunately, he had also resorted to kill himself after confronting his father but failing miserably. 

Apart from that, his love for Linda is endearing. The couple planned to flee to California but to no avail. Surprisingly, meeting Linda has made Arthur Shelby more compassionate, calm and religious. 

Arthur Shelby Actor

Image Source/BBC

However, things went south for Linda and Arthur much to the disappointment of Arthur’s fans. It is the myriad of personalities he portrayed despite being born in a harsh environment that makes him popular among his fans. 

Arthur Shelby: Actor Behind The Character 

Arthur Shelby Actor

Image Source/Interview Magazine

Paul Anderson played the role of Arthur Shelby with so much depth and understanding in Peaky Blinders. 

The British actor got his big break through Peaky Blinders in 2013 and his acting career has been upwards since. He had acted in The Revenant, Robin Hood, In The Heart Of The Sea, and Brimstone. 

He is also popular for playing Colonel Sebastian Moran in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. 

The Rocky Start Of Arthur Shelby Actor’s Life…

Arthur Shelby Actor

Image Source/Daily Mirror

Paul Anderson was working as a ticket scalper and aspiring musician before he embarked on his acting journey. In the mid-2000s, he enrolled at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art to pursue a career in acting. 

Fun Fact: He actually never thought of acting himself. Since he is funny, the people he met nudged him to do something about his talent. 

“I just thought, “Well, if anything like that is going to happen, it’ll just happen. 

“I certainly won’t need to go to drama school”—I never thought about attending drama school. Then one day I got these application forms and I filled them out.”

Naturally, Paul Put A Lot Of Thought Into Acting As Arthur Shelby

He appreciates the vulnerability present in Arthur Shelby and had used it to bring the character alive on screen in each episode. 

“I always thought that if I’m going to play a violent man, it’s borne out of his upbringing. If I’m going to play that stuff, I’m not going to do just out-and-out unforgiving brutality.

“I’m going to play it with a little bit of vulnerability, some emotional conscience. Because it’s not interesting just to be violent or brutal for the sake of it with no moral compass.

“I tried to give Arthur that sort of emotion and depth of feeling. He does these things but there is some remorse.”

Admittedly, it looked like Paul had to work hard to make justice to Arthur Shelby. 

Paul Is Surprised That Fans Actually Like Arthur Shelby

Arthur Shelby Actor

Image Source/Peaky Blinders Wiki

Apparently, a lot of people had been sharing their love for Arthur Shelby to Paul Anderson. 

“I’m really surprised. Lots of people like the show, and I get that, but lots of people say, “We love Arthur,” and I don’t know why. I guess I do understand. 

“The thing I love about him and why I like playing him is he’s not just this one-dimensional; he’s tough and he can be violent and brutal, but he’s not just that. 

“He’s got this inner turmoil, this dichotomy: “I don’t want to do this but I’m doing it because it’s my life and it’s the way things are.”

Quotes From Arthur Shelby, Actor Well-Liked By Many

Arthur Shelby Actor

Image Source/Digital Spy

Peaky Blinders are known for impactful dialogues. Impressively, Arthur Shelby had his fair share of dramatic quotes. 

“Who wants to be in heaven, eh? Who wants to be in heaven when you can be sending men to fucking hell?”

“In the end, it’s God who pulls that fucking trigger anyway. We don’t get to decide who lives and who dies, Finn. Not us. You just have to flick a switch.”

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