- "I am Old Testament."
- —Arthur Shelby
Arthur W Shelby Jr. is the eldest of the Shelby siblings and the tough member of Peaky Blinders and the Deputy Vice President of Shelby Company Limited. He is also a member of the ICA and acts as his brother Tommy Shelby's right hand man.
Arthur is more brawn than brains. During the war in France, Arthur was a Sapper with his brother Thomas, digging very treacherous tunnels in order to place enormous amount of explosives under the enemy positions: a tactic used several times in the war to devastating effect at both the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. It is suggested he may have served at Gallipoli through his distaste for Turks and the smell of stagnant water.
Series 1 · 1919Edit
After returning from France, Arthur feels that he should be the head of the family business. However, he can't command the necessary authority and Thomas slowly starts to assume leadership.
When Chief Inspector Campbell comes to Birmingham, Arthur is arrested, beaten and questioned as the assumed leader of the gang, but knows nothing about any stolen machine guns.
Eventually, Arthur Shelby confronts Thomas telling him that he has no idea what is going on. Thomas tells him that the Peaky Blinders have the stolen guns and takes him to The Garrison Pub, which is now under Arthur's ownership.
Arthur continues to show his lack of guile, when he hints to his barmaid Grace Burgess that Danny Whizz-Bang is alive, allowing her to surmise that Danny's grave is where the Peaky Blinders have hidden the guns.When his father, Arthur Shelby, shows up, Arthur Jr. takes the opportunity to prove to everyone that he knows business just as well as Thomas. He gives his father money without the permission of Thomas or Aunt Polly, but soon realizes that his father is a selfish liar. Arthur tries to confront his father before he leaves for good, but becomes intimidated by the man's strength and anger, knowing that he wouldn't win in a fight against him.
The events cause Arthur to re-evaluate himself and as a result, he attempts suicide by hanging himself. The plan fails when the rope tears from the hook.
Arthur and the rest of the Peaky Blinders eventually confront their rival Billy Kimber and helps to clean Thomas Shelby's wounds after the shooting.
Series 2 · 1922Edit
An increasingly unhinged Arthur continued to struggle with war trauma, when he kills a young boy in the boxing ring by beating him to death. He is later confronted in The Garrison Pub by Mrs. Ross, the mother of the boy he killed. She pulls a gun on him, but it misfires and shoots the mirror behind the bar. Arthur lunges toward her, empties the gun of bullets and tells her that she’ll be compensated financially. Broken and furious, she flips over the table and screams, “Somebody has to stop you people”.
Arthur accompanies Thomas and the gang to the auctions to buy a race horse, thus giving them a credible reason to infiltrate the race courses dominated by their London rival, Darby Sabini. When assassins try to kill Thomas, the same uncontrollable rage takes over Arthur who brutally beats one of the assailants.
In London, Arthur, whose cocaine habit is worrying his younger brother, leads the Blinders in tearing up the Eden Club belonging to Sabini, which they plan to take over, quite hostilely.
Later, Arthur and John are drinking in The Garrison Pub, when his Aunt Polly's son Michael Gray and Jeremiah Jesus’ son, Isaiah, come in telling them of a scuffle they had in the The Marquis of Lorne. Arthur and his brother John burn the pub to the ground with the barkeep inside, to protect the reputation of the Peaky Blinders.
When their supposed ally Alfie Solomons invites Arthur and Billy Kitchen over for Passover at the distillery, things escalate rather quickly after Alfie sacrifices the goat named after Thomas. Alfie shoots Billy Kitchen in the head and his men tie up Arthur to wait for the police to haul him off to jail for the murder.
In prison, Arthur is beaten badly. He gets a visit from his brother John, who tells him that Thomas has plans to get him released, not before mocking him: "You’ve tried to hang yourself twice, now the king’s going to do it for you”.
Thomas negotiates a deal with Alfie to have the murder charge against Arthur withdrawn just in time to join the Blinders and the Lees heading off to the races.
At the Epsom Derby, Thomas assassinates Field Marshal Henry Russell, which creates the diversion that Arthur and the gang need to hold up Sabini’s bookmakers and burn their licenses, while the police are distracted.
Series 3 · 1924Edit
Arthur meets a woman. Due to Linda's family background, he finds some kind of faith in God (old testament). It is shown that Linda is pregnant with his child, who is later named as Billy Shelby.
He and Linda envision a life in California, away from their strained life in Small Heath. After becoming more and more religious he is shown to be a lot more compassionate and calm, this leads to him seeming weaker by the rest of the Peaky Blinders and is often picked on by John Shelby and Thomas Shelby. He seems embarrassed about this and as shown in Episode 2 he did participate in the fight outside one of the bars however washed his hands and went straight home, he was then shouted at and mocked by John Shelby. Despite his passionate love for Linda and her beliefs, he engages in infidelity and drug abuse.
Due to John's fight with the Changretta-family and Tommy's encouragement to war, Arthur and John capture Vincente Changretta. Just as Tommy was going to kill him slowly, Arthur pulls the trigger to make his death less painful, an action that really shows Arthur's development. Like the rest of the Shelbys, besides Tommy, Arthur is arrested by the police and taken away in the end of season 3, unable to escape to California with Linda.
SERIES 4 · 1925-1926 Edit
As the whole Shelby family is preparing to be hanged, Arthur is tense but calm about the situation. In order of the deal Tommy made with the British government, they are all saved from death in the last second. Arthur returns to working for the Shelby Company LM, when the whole Shelby family receives a Black Hand from Luca Changretta, whose alliance is the New York mafia, in retaliation for the murder of his father. As war begins between the Italians and the Blinders, John is mortally wounded on Christmas morning 1925 by Italian gunmen.
Arthur is very moved by the death of his brother and feels guilty. He swears to be the one to kill Luca Changretta, but Linda and the faith in God stops him from it, leaving the task to Tommy. As Arthur is running one of the Shelby Company business buildings, two Italian men sneak in and attempt to kill him, but Arthur luckily survives. As the Shelby Company invest in a Gypsy boxing-talent (the son of the ally, Bonnie Gold), Arthur is getting suspicious about a man at an important boxing match against Solomon's fighter. When the man leaves the fighting arena, Arthur follows him and is seemingly mortally wounded.
At his funeral, Thomas is approached by the mother of the Changretta family, who demands all enterprises of the Shelby Company handed over to Luca. When the deal is about to be made, Thomas has outrun Luca by making a deal with the other New York mafia-families, specifically Alphonse Capone. All of Luca's blood-related men have been killed in Birmingham, so the rest of his men agrees to let Luca's bell toll. As Luca realizes he has lost the vendetta, he attacks Tommy, only to see Arthur walk right in and shoot him. With many believing Arthur is dead, he has the chance to pursue a new identity.
But Arthur chooses to stay in Birmingham and remain as a partner of the Shelby Company LM.
Thomas Shelby Edit
Aunt Polly Edit
Arthur Shelby Sr. Edit
Linda Shelby Edit
Sometime between the years of 1922 and 1924, Arthur meets religious Linda, a devoted Quaker, and they marry. She helps Arthur put his life back together and deal with his mental health issues, firstly by helping him stay sober as much as she can.
Arthur is seen having a soft spot for Grace in the first series and often asks her for help with business calculations when he is having trouble. He accidentally slips out family business information to Grace, but makes sure to inform Thomas that Grace has been asking questions about how the family runs their business. In the third series, when Grace married Thomas, Arthur casually refers to her as his 'sister', indicating that he has welcomed her into the family despite her past history with the Shelby's.
When Arthur first meets him, he tells Michael that he already knew him when he was a child: “I used to throw you out the window so John could catch you.” Just like John, Arthur treats Michael like a brother and makes sure to keep an eye out for his safety.
Finn Shelby Edit
Both Arthur and John were initially the ones who looked after Finn during a night out however once John dies, Arther needed a right-hand man which Finn was the only option as he was his brother but when Finn implies that he's unable to kill even when Arthur is under gunpoint, Arthur states that "In the end, it is God who pulls that fucking trigger anyway." This illustrates that he doesn't necesscarlity care about that but rather having his brother there with him.
Arthur is known to see women, two at a time on occasion, sometimes four but always multiples of two. As seen in the beginning of the first series where he goes to the movies with two girls and receives sexual favors from both. It is unknown if these women are prostitutes. He also sleeps with the girls who work in The Eden Club while he runs it.
"We're kings! Kings of the fucking world!"
"This place is under new management...by order of the peaky blinders!"
“I heard the blackbird sing.” — Arthur Shelby Jr. to Thomas Shelby
"I'm emotional, I just don't know what fucking emotion it is." -- Arthur Shelby to Ada Shelby
"In the end, it's God who pulls that fucking trigger anyway. We don't get to decide who lives and who dies." -- Arthur Shelby to Finn Shelby
"Tell your boss what you saw here today. Tell him you don't fuck with the Peaky Blinders." -- Arthur Shelby to Italian mafia's member
|Series 1 Appearances|
|Episode 1.1||Episode 1.2||Episode 1.3||Episode 1.4||Episode 1.5||Episode 1.6|
|Series 2 Appearances|
|Episode 2.1||Episode 2.2||Episode 2.3||Episode 2.4||Episode 2.5||Episode 2.6|
|Series 3 Appearances|
|Episode 3.1||Episode 3.2||Episode 3.3||Episode 3.4||Episode 3.5||Episode 3.6|
|Series 4 Appearances|
|Episode 4.1||Episode 4.2||Episode 4.3||Episode 4.4||Episode 4.5||Episode 4.6|