Peaky Blinders and the Problem of Jessie Eden

Yes, there are spoilers.

Here’s Steven Knight in Den of Geek discussing Jessie Eden, the labor organizer who makes an appearance in Series 4 of Peaky Blinders:

Jessie Eden

“I just found these tiny little snippets. . . . I’d read that someone brought the women workers of Birmingham out on strike, so I used that in the last series and then I decided when I read a bit more about her—it’s such a great name, Jessie Eden—and I decided to explore that character a bit more.

“There’s tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of stuff about General Brigadier so-and-so who really didn’t do much and then you just see a little glimpse of somebody running across a corridor, and that is Jessie Eden. You read ‘brought every woman out on strike in Birmingham’, ‘organised equal pay strikes in Birmingham’, ‘left Birmingham and went to live in Moscow in the underground for ten years’, ‘had a child in a mysterious circumstance’, all of these things. It’s like a light flashes on and off every now and then and you see this picture and think ‘God!’ then all you can do is try to take those pictures and piece together this person.”

He adds this in The Guardian:  “I’m always interested in those people you see flashing by at the corner of your eye. . . . So much of history concentrates on the memoirs of some politician or other but then in the middle of all that grey there’s a flash of colour and that’s Jessie – being female and working class there was very little prospect that she would become a household name but she did extraordinary things.”

(You’ll find other Jessie Eden articles in The Birmingham Mail, The Daily Mail, and The Telegraph.)

Since “The Company” aired, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jessie Eden, played by Charlie Murphy.  I’ve written about my frustration with her character, and I’d like to develop those ideas a bit.  (I’d also recommend Waywardius’s excellent tweetstorm on the historical problems of Series 4.)

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