Peaky Blinders: Why did Tommy call his son Charlie? Heartbreaking reason revealed

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Peaky Blinders fans might think they know everything about Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) after five seasons inside his psyche. However, the show’s creator and writer Steven Knight has now revealed a fascinating piece of trivia about Tommy’s son Charles Shelby (Jenson Clarke) in a new interview.

Why did Tommy call his son Charlie in Peaky Blinders?

Tommy’s first child in Peaky Blinders was introduced in season three following his reconciliation with Grace.

Named Charles “Charlie” Shelby, the young boy has been one of the few people Tommy has loved greatly in the series.

He has also been a part of some heartbreaking storylines after losing his mother Grace Shelby (Annabelle Wallis) and also being kidnapped at the end of season three.

However, some fans might not realise there is actually some backstory to his name on the show.


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Creator Knight revealed all in a recent watch-along of the season five finale with Esquire Magazine.

During the screening, he was asked by a fan if Charlie was named after silent film actor Charlie Chaplin.

He said: “Is Tommy’s son Charles named after Charlie Chaplin?

“Chaplin, of course, made a famous spoof film about the fascist dictators.

“Yes, he is, because one man campaigned to have it acknowledged that Charlie Chaplin was born in Birmingham on a gypsy camp called the Black Patch.”

The famous silent film star had a career spanning 75 years and became a legend of the Hollywood era.

However, as well as being a reference to the great man, the fact Tommy named his son after him has a more heartbreaking reason as well.

According to a Reddit fan, the name is also linked to Tommy’s doomed relationship with Grace in the series.


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As fans will remember, on the night Tommy and Grace rekindled and conceived Charlie in season two, Tommy introduced Grace to Chaplin.

Fan evenstar297 referenced this on Reddit, adding what they thought Tommy’s reasoning behind the name might be.

He wrote: “I believe they named him Charles after Charlie Chaplin since Tommy and Grace went to see him on the night he was conceived.”

And now viewers know the tragic fate of Grace in the television series, this makes the name all the more heartbreaking.

As many will remember, she was shot dead in season three at a charity gala under the orders of Vicente Changretta (Kenneth Colley).


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The impact of her death on Tommy was enormous and it sent him down a dangerous path of vengeance in the third and fourth seasons.

Knight also referenced this relationship in the Esquire interview, telling fans why Grace had to be killed off.

He said: “It was tempting to give him that sort of happiness with Grace.

“But I just think if he ever finds happiness and contentment then the thing that makes him extraordinary will probably go away.”

Peaky Blinders seasons 1-5 are available to watch on Netflix now.

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