Newman lecturer provides historical consultancy for Peaky Blinders
Dr Chris Upton, senior lecturer in history at Newman University, was appointed as historical consultant for Peaky Blinders – a flagship six-part period drama set in Birmingham at the start of the 1920s.
A local history expert, Dr Upton has been working with the production team, writers and actors to ensure the series – a key component of the broadcaster’s Autumn schedule – is as historically accurate as possible for a fictional series.
Dr Upton said: “It was a real honour to work on the series. Period dramas, such as Peaky Blinders, entertain and inform members of public, shining a light on periods of history that may have been forgotten.
“While the series itself isn’t based on a true story, the types of events, times and environment in which the drama takes place are real so we wanted to portray these aspects as accurately as possible.”
Dr Upton provided information on a range of issues; with typical queries including identifying the correct colour for a goal keeper’s jersey in that era to providing information on the back-to-back houses that form the backdrop of much of the action.
Dr Upton continued: “I was particularly keen to ensure that the actors’ accents were as accurate as possible and not confused with Black Country accents.
“As part of that process, we provided the cast with tapes of oral history interviews carried out by Newman students with local people who were alive at the time the series is set. That way they could hear how local people would really have spoken and base their accents on real people.
“The tapes also proved invaluable when it came to helping the actors develop the characters they were playing. Several of the characters in the series are significantly affected by the trauma of their experiences in the Great War and, by listening to the first-hand accounts of local people who shared those experiences, the actors were able to gain a greater understanding of the issues and challenges those characters faced when returning to so-called ‘normal life’ in the city after the war.”
The first episode of Peaky Blinders will be broadcast on BBC Two tonight at 9pm. For further information, visitwww.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/peakyblinders