Your moustache is the only moustache in the entire cast of Peaky Blinders. We’re very interested in moustache growing at the Chap. Presumably you have to grow a new moustache for each round of filming. Do you grow it from scratch, or do you grow a full beard then shave off everything except the moustache?
Generally I have a full beard anyway, but I’ll tell you this: the first two seasons, that wasn’t my moustache. It was a stick-on moustache (laughs mischievously). What happened was that the character Stephen Knight originally created looked completely different to how Arthur Shelby ended up. He wrote that Arthur had long hair and was covered in jewellery. But I wasn’t too keen on that. I toyed with the idea of a moustache and the director almost insisted on it. So we stuck one on and it just felt right.
I’m very insistent on how I want Arthur to look. I want him to have a tighter cut of trouser and more fitted suits, and the introduction of ties and bow ties
So that explains why in Season 3 the moustache looks tidier and more well groomed – because it’s the real thing. Did you enjoy putting all the 1920s clothes on, or was it inconvenient to fiddle about with collars and watch chains?
Yes, it’s all unfamiliar at first, but I always questioned the dress of the 20s. Did all men in the twenties have someone helping them get dressed? And obviously no, that wasn’t the case. Certainly the Peaky Blinders wouldn’t have had a valet. But you do need assistance with the collar, and I wear bow ties – that was my choice, and I sort of learned to tie one, but couldn’t get it the same each time, so I had to get someone to tie it for me. But I love clothes, personally, I love dressing up, so when it comes to the suits of the twenties, the cut, it’s great to wear that stuff.
Have you learned how to put the separate collar on, because that’s quite fiddly, isn’t it?
Well I’ve learned how to take them off on my own, but when it comes to the single stud at the back, that’s difficult.
Much better to have someone do that for you. Is it hard to believe that people got up to all sorts of physical activities and violence, dressed in a three-piece suit with a bow tie and an overcoat?
It just makes the violence look more stylistic. I mean it’s one thing doing football fighting in a Skyline jacket, but if you were wearing a three-piece suit, bow tie and a pocket watch, it looks so much better.
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