"The one minute. The soldier’s minute. In a battle, that’s all you get. One minute of everything at once. And anything before is nothing. Everything after, nothing. Nothing in comparison to that one minute."
Thomas Shelby

Thomas Michael Shelby OBE MP, is the leader of the Birmingham criminal gang Peaky Blinders and the patriarch of the Shelby Family. His experiences during and after the First World War have left him disillusioned and determined to move his family up in the world.

Character History


Thomas Shelby and his siblings are gypsies from both sides of their family. It is implied by their aunt, Polly, who is their father's sister and Thomas himself when he states in Series 1 that the Lee Family are kin to the Shelby family from their mother's side. It can be concluded that perhaps both of Thomas' parents are partially Romani gypsies.

Thomas was in love with a girl named Greta Jurossi before the first World War, as stated by Jessie Eden. Gretta grew sick, and Thomas stayed by her bedside for three months before she passed away and he went to war.

It is implied that there was a drastic personality shift before and after his experiences in the First World War, during which he was a Tunneller or Sapper (a volunteer digging treacherous tunnels covertly, in order to place enormous amount of explosives beneath enemy lines, a tactic used several times in the war to devastating effect). After the War, he began experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Peaky Tommy Shelby

Thomas Shelby is shown to be a member of the Small Heath Rifles at the rank of sergeant major – a non-commissioned officer in charge of well-being, morale and training of the entire unit (all other sergeants and corporals answer to him as well as to the actual commanding officers). His flawless conduct in this role (made even more difficult on account of his youth at the time) earned him unwavering respect both from members of his unit and other veterans alike and cemented his reputation in the streets.

As to his heritage, Thomas claims that he is related to the Lee family on his mother's side and Johnny Dogs claims that Thomas's grandfather was a "king", most likely a King of the Gypsies. He is the second of the Shelby siblings.


Thomas Shelby is a former British soldier and his war record states that he fought bravely at the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of Somme. His actions at Mons reportedly saved thousands of allied lives, for which he received medals of honor after the War, including the Military Medal and the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Series 1 · 1919

Series 2 · 1922

Series 3 · 1924


Thomas, Grace and Charles Shelby

Series 3 starts with the marriage of Thomas and Grace. After they are married, it's revealed that Thomas now owns a large house in the country, possibly to do with marrying Grace and his gradual increase in success in his business. His family and Grace's both come back to the house afterwards, where they have a party, with the Shelby men and the Irish family bonding slightly.

Thomas is waiting for his businessman to make contact with him (who we later find out are Russians) and they do at his wedding. This ends with Arthur Shelby killing a man.

Despite living in the country now, Thomas frequently visits his home in Birmingham city and business is good, although he has initial reservations about Arthur's wife.

Blinders4 2844776a

Grace and Thomas Shelby

When Grace is shot, he is heartbroken and returns to his much colder demeanor, initially not wanting to speak to his family very much and being very withdrawn from family life, and more so caught up in business with the Russians.

When he gets a tip-off that the Priest is working for the Russian family is a double-agent, he attempts to assassinate him but is found out and attacked because of something Polly admitted in confession. He is very badly injured, with a suspected fractured skull and a hemorrhage. He is sent in this state to the home of the Romanovs and apologizes to Father Hughes in front of them.

He is also in a sexual relationship with Tatiana Petrovna, the niece of Leon Petrovich Romanov, the Russian man Thomas is doing business with. In an episode in Thomas' house in which Tatiana nearly shoots herself playing a frantic and sexualised game of Russian roulette, he breaks down as she keeps mentioning Grace, a tactic to get him to presumably break.

Episode 3 4 a
The initial business he had with Leon was to export large artillery vehicles, which he will get to the destination by having an explosion, implying that the vehicles got blown up, when really they will be on a different train- although this gets changed when he finds out that the R
The Shelby Family
When Thomas deviates from the plan and Father Hughes finds out about the tunnel they are digging to retrieve the jewels from the Russian household, he kidnaps Thomas's son, and in return, Thomas has to blow up the train and frame certain people, and at least 6 people have to die.

Thomas gets Arthur and John to blow up the train, but in the meantime, Michael finds Father Hughes and cuts his throat with a knife, after Thomas ordered him to kill him.

Thomas then returns the jewellery and such to Tatiana, who is waiting to presumably make a getaway somewhere, and informs him that a man is waiting for her. In exchange for the goods, she gives him a large case of money and kisses him, and then asks for money for the sex they had and for helping him get over Grace's death. He rebuffs her, saying, "You didn't even come close."

The season ends with Thomas paying each of his family members and closest workers a sum of money for their problems, with most of his family angered or annoyed at him for interfering with Russian business in the first place, which he remarks in regard to Arthur, "You were right." He confesses to having made many mistakes and requests them to accept the money that he pays as a means of his apology.

Episode 3 6

However, as Arthur is saying goodbye (as he plans to leave for New York) Thomas comments, "You won't get far." and then proceeds to tell them they will all be arrested for their various crimes and should comply with the police force, reminding them to trust him as he made a deal with people even more powerful than their enemies. They are all angered, and Thomas watches as Arthur, John, Michael and Polly are all handcuffed and taken away.

Series 4 · 1925-1926

Thomas and the whole Shelby family is being hunted down by the Italian mafia from New York, which Luca Changretta, the son of Vincenzo Changretta, is the leader of. Luca Changretta plans to kill every Shelby family member as vengeance for his father's death.

Shelby Company Limited

See also: Shelby Company Limited
Betting shop Thomas arthur john
Thomas is instrumental in the success of the Shelby family business, which became a Limited Company under Thomas's ownership, as well as the first Shelby family company to have a legal racetrack pitch.

Series 2 revealed that the Shelby Company Limited is making over 100 pounds a day, on average. Thomas pushes the company further by expanding it south to London, as well as by sending crates of cars (with hidden bottles of single malt Scotch Whisky inside—these bottles are then sold in North America in order to bring in profits for the company).

In Series 3, it is shown that thanks to the actions of Thomas and the family over the past few years, the company is even more successful than it had been in the previous series, as it continues to expand and grow, as well as thanks to the cash provided by Winston Churchill.


Unlike the Shelby siblings, Thomas is a very calm and observant man, showcasing his wit and ruthlessness to anyone who threatens him or his family. He is widely respected among his local community and is seen as a dangerous foe by his enemies. Under his leadership the Peaky Blinders have risen from a local Birmingham street gang to a national enterprise that has gone toe-to-toe with the New York Mafia.


Grace Shelby


In Series 1, Thomas first meets Grace and quickly grows fond of her. This mutual attraction eventually leads to love but the relationship is rocked when Thomas discovers that Grace was secretly operating as an agent for the Crown. Despite her mission, she too fell in love with him and urged him to run away to New York with her at the end of the season, but he declines.


Series 2 sees Grace return two years later, married to a wealthy American. Thomas is at first sardonic by her reappearance, but they end up spending the night together, a clear indicator that neither has lost their feelings for one another. In the second series finale, Grace tells Thomas that she is pregnant with his child and that it's him, not her husband, whom she loves.


Series 3 begins two years later. Grace has given birth to a healthy boy, Charles Shelby, and her and Thomas have married and now live in a beautiful country estate. However, near the beginning of series 3, Grace is shot and shortly after dies, leaving their son solely in the care of Thomas, who remains grieving long after her death. Photos and paintings of her are kept all around his house in her memory. She is the love of his life.

Ep 2 1 Thomas Polly

Aunt Polly

Polly is his aunt and his adviser. Aunt Polly has looked after him and his siblings since they were young. She often advises him on the gang's business and she is the person that he trusts most.

Arthur Shelby

To be continued

John Shelby

To be continued

Ada Shelby

  • Ada is Tommy's sister who gets into a relationship with her brother's friend Freddy Thorne. She gets pregnant which leads to them getting married. Later on, after the passing of Freddy, she will become an important figure in the Shelby Company Limited.

Finn Shelby

Michael Gray

Alfie Solomons

Lizzie Stark


Thomas and Lizzie Stark

Series 1 sees Lizzie engaged to be married to John. Thomas, upon finding out about the marriage, proceeds to test Lizzie, offering her money to sleep with him one last time. She is reluctant at first but takes the money. Thomas tells John of the event, leading to the marriage being called off, but not before John found out Thomas was one of Lizzie's regular clients after he arrived back from the war in France.

In Series 2, Lizzie is next seen after having sex with Thomas, telling him she wishes just once he wouldn't pay her, like normal people. He doesn't take much interest in the conversation but is next seen back in his office with Lizzie once again, telling her to close her eyes. He offers her a job as his secretary, telling her she would no longer do her other work as a prostitute, this time with "no exceptions".

In episode 6, she is escorted to the Epsom Derby by Jeremiah Jesus to Thomas, who has a job for her. After they take a seat, he explains to her he needs her to distract a soldier, by taking him to a 'quiet place'. She instantly knows that he is implying she seduces him, but retorts using his own words, telling him that he said there would be no exceptions. He continues that he promises to get there before 'it' starts, and Lizzie eventually accepts. Once with the soldier, he becomes violent when she tries to slow things down, and Thomas doesn't arrive until after the soldier is raping Lizzie. Thomas pulls his gun and begins to fight with the man until he is able to shoot him with his own gun. Lizzie is shakily pointing his gun at him, crying and screaming where he was. He attempts to comfort her, but she angrily pushes him away and leaves.

By the end of Series 4, Lizzie had gotten pregnant and given birth to Thomas' child.
Ep3 6 Thomas Tatiana

Thomas and Tatiana Petrovna

Tatiana Petrovna

His sexual interest in series 3, he sleeps with her on a few occasions, as she was "offered" by her Aunt to help close the deal with the family. Although he may harbor some feelings of love for her, they don't come close at all to his feelings for Grace and he rebuffs her coldly at the end of series 3, as she leaves the city and presumably the country.
Ep2 5 Thomas May

May and Thomas Shelby

May Carleton

Thomas and May Carleton’s relationship is that they’re both quite lonely in their own ways. Thomas is probably the first man that she feels passion for since her husband passed away.

Greta Jurossi

In Series 4, Thomas turns up at out of blue at Jessie Eden’s home looking for knowledge of the Italian family trying to kill the Shelby’s. She was under the false impression that he came with an “improved offer” on the pay wage for his factory workers. During a conversation with Eden, she recalls the knowledge of a past lover of his, Greta Jurossi, daughter of Italians who “died at age 19. Of consumption.”
Greta Jurossi

Greta’s sister, Kitty Jurossi, and friend of Eden said Thomas was “at her bedside for three months. Every day, holding her hand,” and shortly after went to war. Kitty Jurossi claimed he was a sweet boy before the war and was a member of the Communist Party. Eden returns a photo to Thomas from Kitty of he and Greta at Blackpool beach. On it was written “Wild Rovers beside the seaside. June 15th, 1915”.

In the same episode, Tommy takes Lizzie to a dock beneath a bridge he had “not been in a long time” where a girl “would wait for hours for me, when I couldn't make it... and I’d wait for her if her family kept her in.” At this point, he hints that it was Greta by mentioning that it was “Some girl... some girl before France.” presumably for sex.


  • "Do I look like a man, who wants a simple life?"
  • "Everyone's a whore, Grace, we just sell different parts of ourselves."
  • "You can change what you do, but you can't change what you want."
  • "I am a horse."
  • "He looked at me the wrong way. It's not a good idea to look at Tommy Shelby the wrong way."
  • "Whiskey's good proofing water. Tells you who's real and who isn't."
  • "I still prefer the Garrison."
  • "He told fortunes and stole horses. Often he would tell a man that his horse would be stolen and they would marvel at his powers when it was."
  • "I'm chosen? I'm chosen. Can the chosen one smoke?"
  • "Why not?"
  • "I know what it is... it's just myself talking to myself about myself. "
  • "All this death, Lizzie. Fuck, let's have some life, right?"


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

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