Ada Thorne (née Shelby) is the fourth and only female of the Shelby siblings and the only sibling initially not involved with the Peaky Blinders. By the end of 1924, however, Ada assumes a leading position at the United States branch of Shelby Company Limited, dealing only with legal acquisitions; unlike her brothers back home in Birmingham, England.
Ada is from the criminal Gypsy family the Shelbys. She is the daughter of Arthur Shelby Sr. and the only female of the Shelby siblings. Her father walked out on his five children, and her mother died. The children were raised by their Aunt Polly.
Series 1 · 1919
Ada is in a secret romantic relationship with known Communist and Thomas's ex-best friend, Freddie Thorne. In the midst of a police raid, Freddie is forced to leave Birmingham. Ada soon discovers that she is pregnant with Freddie's child. Uncertain about her future with Freddie, she heeds Polly's advice and plans to abort the child. However, Freddie shows up at the train platform when Polly and Ada are on their way to Cardiff for the planned abortion. Freddie proposes on the train platform, and they are eventually married.
Series 2 · 1922
Following Freddie's death from consumption (Tuberculosis), Ada has moved to London. Her support for the Communist cause leads to a disapproval of the lifestyle of her family and this results in her self-imposed isolation from the Shelby clan. However, Thomas still pays her visits and looks out for her welfare. Ada accepts his concern but is still critical of his lifestyle.
Series 3 · 1924
Ada's involvement in the Peaky Blinders somewhat increases throughout 1924. Being bored with her current work, she begins to ask more questions about Peaky business, including asking who the Russians were that attended Tommy's wedding. Ada's interest in these matters mean that Tommy is warned by Father Hughes that she will be killed if he visits her again.Nearing the end of 1924, Ada's interests in the family business, Shelby Company Limited have grown to such an extent that she takes up place as "Head of Property and Acquisitions" in a US branch of the company — this marks the first moment since she appeared that she has taken an interest in the Shelby family business; whether this be the company or activities of the Peaky Blinders.
Series 4 · 1925-1926A year later, on Christmas Eve, 1925, the Shelbys receive a Black Hand letter from New York Mafia boss, Luca Changretta. It is a notice that they have a vendetta against them and will be killed in revenge for the death of Luca's father at Tommy's hand. The Shelby's gather and return from their separate lives to the only safe place they know: Small Heath, Birmingham. The Shelby family must find a way to put differences aside, work together, and take up arms and fight for survival.
The relationship between Ada and Freddie grew during the events of series 1, where the two became involved in a secret relationship. As a known communist and an ex-friend of Tommy's, Freddie was keen to keep the relationship between the two a secret, fearing an outlash from the Peaky Blinders — Thomas especially.
Following the birth of their child, Karl Thorne, the two open up more about their relationship, and Thomas allows a truce during the night of their child's birth. The relationship becomes strained, however after Freddie is arrested. Believing that Tommy was behind the tip off, the relationship between Ada and Tommy suffers, before Freddie is rescued by Tommy to prove his innocence.
The relationship begins to prosper after Freddie is welcomed back into the society of Birmingham, particularly when he is welcomed by Tommy during his fight with Billy Kimber and the Birmingham Boys. The relationship is short lived, however as Freddie passes away due to pestilence at the beginning of 1922.
Thomas is Ada's older brother and the relationship between the two is one of the strongest out of the two. He is at first unaware of the secret relationship between Ada and Freddie, however becomes very concerned when Polly reveals that Ada is pregnant, questioning who the father is. Figuring out that the father is Freddie, Tommy threatens him, not believing him to be enough for Ada. However Thomas understands the importance of love and allows a truce during the birth of their son, allowing Freddie to attend.
Tensions rise between the two when Freddie is arrested on a tip off to the police during the birth night. Ada firmly believes this to be Thomas' fault, however he rightfully denies revealing Freddie's location to the police. Wanting to prove himself to Ada, he authorises the Peaky Blinders to break Freddie out of prison during his transit to a more secure facility; repairing the relationship between Ada and himself.
Polly is Ada's aunt and acts as a close maternal figure throughout her life, including during her relationship with Freddie. Polly becomes aware of the secret relationship and aids Ada in hiding it from her brothers, including when Ada becomes pregnant with Freddie's child. Polly urges the two to leave Birmingham behind, gifting them money from the Peaky Blinders; however Freddie refuses to take the money, much to Ada's dismay.
After the birth of Karl, Polly welcomes Ada and Karl into the Shelby family business and the Peaky Blinders as a whole, much to Ada's surprise.
- "I came back for love. And common sense."
- "Tommy Shelby is going to stop the revolution with his cock."
- "Oi! I'm a Shelby too, you know. Put my fucking film back on!""