Peaky Blinders

An epic gangster drama starring Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Helen McCrory on BBC Two

Interview with Annabelle Wallis

Everyone’s so feisty and strong and so different and so complex. I just fell in love with [the Peaky Blinders] straight away."Annabelle Wallis
Category: BBC Two; Drama

What drew you to this project?

The whole idea of it being about this crime family and the romantic ideas of crime like in gangster films and Westerns and all that kind of came to play after reading the script and - it intrigued me. Everyone’s so feisty and strong and so different and so complex. I just fell in love with it straight away.

Tell us about your character

I play Grace Burgess. She is the barmaid and love interest. She’s a very layered human being dealing with many things. I mean she’s a woman of the time and someone dealing with so many exterior factors that women nowadays don’t really have to deal with like war, the fact that women weren’t allowed to vote, it was quite an oppressive time for women, they were second-class citizens. I feel like Grace was definitely someone who was trying to pave her path as a strong woman. She’s from Ireland where there’s a separatist movement happening, she’s loyal to the British Crown. Grace is honest about her flaws - I think she doesn’t deny who she is, and there’s a very human element to her. She just represents a woman of the time, that stiff upper lip, that duty before love and then realising that sometimes you can’t control everything and circumstances happen.

What do you think makes Peaky Blinders different to other things that are on TV?

At the core you have an incredible script and I think that already makes it kind of stand on its own. Obviously there’s great writing out there but for me, that was something about this that really stood out, in its style, its pace, its dealing with strong women. British period drama is always seen as kind of perfect and beautiful and lovely but I don’t think subcultures have been shone a light on like Peaky Blinders has done.