Peaky Blinders superfan spends £6000 getting cast tattooed on body

A Peaky Blinders superfan has spent £6,000 covering his back and arms in tattoos dedicated to the hit BBC gangster series. David Hatfield, 58, has spent 125 hours under the needle getting most of the main characters from the gritty crime drama inked onto his body.

The council worker from Halesowen, West Midlands, had his first Peaky Blinders tattoo in July 2016 after wanting to cover up an old inking from his youth. He started with a portrait of protagonist Thomas Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, before adding more characters across his entire back.

Mr Hatfield has since forked out several thousand pounds more covering both of his arms in images of mafia man Luca Changretta and Tommy’s brother Arthur Shelby. And he says he is not finished yet as he plans to add a tribute to Aunt Polly actor Helen McCrory, who died of breast cancer last year.

Tattooist Martin Thornton from Ink Envy in Birmingham has carried out the artwork. Mr Hatfield said: “I’m a massive fan of the show and the characters are really wonderfully portrayed.

“I was going to have The Great Escape on my back as it came out in 1963 when I was born, but I chose Peaky Blinders instead as I just fell in love with it. My back took 64 hours and 11 sittings to complete because a lot of them are cover ups of rubbish old tattoos I had when I was younger

“I was in the chair for seven hours for the first tattoo, and it’s £350 a sitting. It’s roughly £6,000 altogether so I’ve spent a fair bit on them. I did it because I thought it was an original idea. I must have been the only one at the time.

Peaky Blinders superfan David Hatfield plans to add a tribute to Aunt Polly actor Helen McCrory

Peaky Blinders superfan David Hatfield plans to add a tribute to Aunt Polly actor Helen McCrory
(Image: SWNS)

“I’ve seen a couple more full back pieces now but I think I’m the only one with a full back and arms. I was speaking to Packy Lee, who plays Johnny Dogs, on Facebook and we were going to meet before Covid, but he is a busy man.

“I’m keeping my left arm mainly free for a tribute to Helen McCrory. I’ve always intended to get her as it was terribly sad when she died. She was an integral part of the show and a wonderful actress.”

Despite having spent thousands of pounds on tattoos, Mr Hatfield says he is still not used to the pain that comes from the dedication to his Peaky Blinders body art. “Some of them can be a breeze but other times you can lie there in agony”, he said. “The worst pain I had was my inner bicep and my lower back.

“I should’ve learnt my lesson by now and I said I’d stop when I did my back. But I will definitely finish it, with Aberama Gold and Polly to finalise both sleeves.

“I’m thinking of having a noose in a space around my elbow, connecting to the tat of Arthur as he tried to kill himself. I’ll have the ribs done next. I might have the back connecting to the ribs so it’s just one big piece. Once you get the bug you just keep on going.”

The final series of Peaky Blinders is currently airing on BBC One every Sunday at 9pm. Mr Hatfield says he reckons he knows how it is going to conclude.

Peaky Blinders superfan David Hatfield had his first Peaky Blinders tattoo in July 2016

David Hatfield had his first Peaky Blinders tattoo in July 2016
(Image: SWNS)

“It’s going to be sad when the series ends because it has just been superb from start to finish. I reckon it’s going to end with Michael and Tommy fighting, maybe Tommy dies as Michael blames him for his mum’s death.

“I think the grey man Tommy’s daughter kept talking about that was coming to get her is Michael Gray. I’ll definitely miss it when it’s no longer on but I really look forward to the film coming out.”

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