'Peaky Blinders' inspires record Birmingham tourism even though it's not shot there

Hanna Flint
Contributor
Peaky Blinders (Credit: BBC)

Peaky Blinders might not be filmed in Birmingham but its inspired lots of fans to visit the area.

In fact, the West Midlands city has enjoyed record number of visitors because of the BBC series being set there.

Now in its fifth season, Peaky Blinders tells the story of the real-life criminal gang who operated in Birmingham from the 1890s to the 1930s.

According to new figures, the city enjoyed 42.8 million visitors last year as “screen tourism” becomes more popular with people visiting the locations of their favourite shows as a holiday.

“The Peaky effect is really gaining momentum here, with tours and events in the West Midlands selling out months in advance,” Birmingham mayor Andy Street told the Guardian.

“Record numbers of tourists are now visiting the region, with many people wanting to explore the places and stories associated with the show.”

Peaky Blinders (Credit: BBC)

The West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) says visitors to Birmingham increased by 26% between 2013 and 2018 while international visitor numbers rose by 19% to 1.1 million during the same period.

The BBC series first aired in 2013 and thanks to a deal with Netflix it can now be viewed in 183 countries, including the US, which saw a 50% increase in American visitors to Birmingham since the show started.

The series is actually filmed on streets in Liverpool and Manchester.

Read more: Peaky Blinders creator defends show

The new season began airing last month and welcomed Sam Claflin the cast as MP Oswald Mosley, the politician operating in the 1920s and 1930s as the leader of the British Union of Fascists.

He joins original star Cillian Murphy, who plays gang leader Tommy Shelby who is now an MP.

The official synopsis reads: "When Tommy Shelby MP is approached by a charismatic politician with a bold vision for Britain, he realises that his response will affect not just his family's future but that of the entire nation."

Peaky Blinders airs Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.