PSA: Cillian Murphy, The Man Who Plays Tommy Shelby Himself, Hates That Damn Hair Cut

27 August 2019
Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders, TOMMY SHELBY, Haircut
Image: BBC One

You only need to walk down the street to see just how popular the ‘Peaky Blinders’ haircut is. While it’s clear a large majority are fans of the style, just don’t ask the man who plays the leading character what he thinks about the cut

In 2013, the world was introduced to the eponymous Birmingham gang, the Peaky Blinders. The family business was one of bloodshed and deception, but it was the leader of the group – a Mr. Thomas Shelby – who proved so captivating to audiences, even his manipulation of people proved redeemable.

Clearly, this was a troubled man and when he returned from war in the first season we were presented with someone who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But there was also a quiet stoicism to his character; an ability to command a room by saying very little, and just when we think he may have lost all compassion – hope is restored, in the form of an interaction, or personal reflection, an indication that he has empathy and feels remorse.

He makes for a very fascinating character profile, and with Peaky Blinders returning to screens with season five, we can only delight in where the journey will be taking Tommy on his character arc. But for most fans, this is all superfluous. What makes the show great isn’t so much Cillian Murphy’s incredible portrayal of Tommy Shelby, but the hairstyle he introduced us all to – the Peaky cut.

You only need to walk down the street to see just how popular the style is, with nearly every male with a reasonable amount of hair to play with attempting to mimic the style. A brief Google search of the cut renders more than 11 million results, with users searching questions like, “How to nail the Peaky Blinders hair style” and “What is Tommy Shelby’s haircut called?” If the results are anything to go by, it’s clear that this trend has no sign of slowing down.

What is the “Peaky cut”?

The style typically sees hair on the top of the head kept long and parted on either the side or the centre, while the back and sides are buzzed very short. It’s considered a similar take on the curtained hair of the mid-to-late 1990s, however these days the bangs are kept away from the face.

What are the origins?

Despite it’s pervasiveness, the origin of the undercut is somewhat less fashionable. Popular from the 1910s to 1940s, the haircut was largely associated with poverty and inability to afford a barber competent enough to blend in the sides. Furthermore, during the war it became the go-to style as it was considered beneficial for personal hygiene and stopping the spread of lice during trench warfare.

How can I get the Peaky blinders haircut?

Most guys look good with a sharp, fresh style. It’s just how it is shaped on the sides and top that makes or breaks the look. We spoke to Raymond Robinson, Creative Director at Detail for Men, to find out everything we need to know about getting the Peaky Blinders’ look. Read that here.

The verdict

Having portrayed the leading Thomas Shelby, it’s easy to credit Cillian Murphy as being the root cause of the renaissance of the undercut style. In an interview with Woman and Home, Murphy said about the haircut: “People ask for a Peaky cut. It’s crazy that people like it – it hasn’t grown on me.”

Murphy isn’t a fan of the cut, but it’s clear he’s created a legion of fans who are. “It’s when you get the haircut that people start shouting at ya,” he said. “When I don’t have the haircut I can get the bus quite unmolested.”


Via GQ Australia