Cheltenham Racecourse to feature in hit BBC show Peaky Blinders
CHELTENHAM Racecourse will take centre stage of the BBC2 gangster series Peaky Blinders next week.
In the third episode of the series set in 1919 Birmingham, the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) plans to go to Cheltenham to get closer to racecourse kingpin Billy Kimber (Charlie Creed-Miles).
Kimber controls the legal and illegal bookmaking sites at racecourses across England and is one of the country’s most powerful gangsters.
The show, which is inspired by Birmingham’s historic criminal gangs, will place the racecourse at the heart of the violent drama.
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But racecourse bosses said they were unaware of any filming taking place at Prestbury Park ahead of the series, assuming the programme makers used other locations.
The Echo’s racing editor, Jonathan Herbert, said a lot has changed since the inter-war era.
He said: “In 1919, 17 years after the first Festival, Prestbury Park looked very little like the modern-day venue jump racing fans have come to know and love.
“Occupied by the military authorities between 1915 and 1919, Prestbury Park had seen racing return to the venue in 1898. This was after a nomadic existence because of opposition to the sport.
“Eventually, Baring Bingham bought it and built a grandstand and put rails around the track.
“The top riders of the day included George Duller, champion jockey in 1918 and who won the first running of the Champion Hurdle aboard Blaris in 1927.”
The six-part series, which is broadcast on Thursdays at 9pm, focuses on the Peaky Blinders, a gang who hid razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Shelby.