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Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy reveals why some people are so devoted to the show

So great is the anticipation for series four of Peaky Blinders that when the trailer was released online, it got seven million views.

Indeed, fans of the 1920s-set gangster show are so fanatical that some have even gone to the length of having tattoos of their favourite characters – with none more popular than charismatic leading man Cillian Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby, the head of the Midlands criminal family.

 Peaky Blinders: When a mysterious letter arrives for Tommy (Cillian) on Christmas Eve, he fears the Peaky Blinders have finally met their matchBBC Peaky Blinders: When a mysterious letter arrives for Tommy (Cillian) on Christmas Eve, he fears the Peaky Blinders have finally met their match

“People have shown me pictures of Tommy tattoos,” smiles Cillian, 41, looking slightly embarrassed at the extent of the adulation. “It’s quite alarming. Maybe just buy the box set!”

One person who genuinely did need to buy the box set was Charlie Murphy. A newcomer to the show – both as an actor and a viewer – Charlie has previously cut her teeth on another gangster drama, the Dublin-set Love/Hate.

“I didn’t watch Peaky Blinders at all,” says Charlie, who’s best known for playing Ann Gallagher in Happy Valley. “It was on my list because so many of my peers love it and my family are massive fans.

And I love Cillian as well – I know him from the Irish theatre scene.

"But before I auditioned I started watching it to get the Brummie accent, which I’d never done before – and I was hooked. After the audition I binge-watched it all – twice! It’s such an exciting world to watch unfold.”

It’s a world that Charlie’s character, Jessie Eden – a real-life trade union activist who, at one stage, led 10,000 women out on strike over disparity in wages – has a significant impact on from the moment she sashays through Tommy’s factory, only stopping to fix her make-up in the gents’ toilets: ‘You don’t have a women’s lavatory on the second floor because no women get this far up’ she tells an outraged male employee.

 Peaky Blinders: Adrien guest stars as a ruthless Mafia leaderBBC Peaky Blinders: Adrien guest stars as a ruthless Mafia leader

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