Login to

XLA Multiverse

Please choose how you want to sign in

By creating an account, you agree to XLA Multiverse’s Privacy Policy

Peaky Blinders poster image


Peaky Blinders icon

Peaky Blinders Universe

Awaiting Claim

John Shelby

General Info

John Shelby logo
Job TitleCriminal, Second-in-command of the Peaky Blinders
Birth Date1899-01-01
Birth PlaceBirmingham, England
Knows aboutCriminal activities, Shelby Family business
Alternate NameJohnny
Character NameJohn Shelby
Member of OrganizationPeaky Blinders
John Shelby, also known as John Boy, is the main character in the Peaky Blinders universe. John is an important member of the Shelby family and alleged gang. He is younger than his fierce brothers Tommy and Arthur, but just as brave and courageous. He portrays his younger brother's combination of sharp agility and cheeky vulnerability, and his fierce family loyalty is unwavering. Despite his youthful impulsiveness, John proves his ability to run a business and fight the gang's enemies. His marriage to Esme Lee leads to the reunion of the Shelby and Lee families, two powerful clans of the criminal underworld. John's dramatic character arc is a surprising combination of personal conflicts, family obligations and dark humor. John Shelby's character resonates with an unbridled passion for family and the courage of danger, walking the line between insanity and bravery.


John Shelby, often referred to as Johnny or John Boy, is the main character in the immersive series Peaky Blinders. Heavily influenced by his family connections and the hardships of post-war Birmingham, John's character offers an intriguing combination of unwavering loyalty and impulsive rebellion.
The third of Shelby's siblings, John's life is closely intertwined with the family's illegal business. His character goes from the dutiful brother overseeing the Peaky Blinders operations to a hot-headed member of the gang who often lets recklessness get the better of him. The risky and highly rewarding nature of his work reflects John's approach to life. John's character exemplifies the Peaky Blinders' hard-nosed attitude and sharp wit, becoming an iconic representation of their complex dynamics and ambitious endeavours. But beneath his tough exterior lies a compassionate man driven by his love for his family, making his character as endearing as it is terrifying. His relationship with his wife Esme further reflects the challenges he faces in coming to terms with the harsh realities of a turbulent life.
John Shelby's portrayal in the Peaky Blinders universe is not only a man who lives on the edge, but also a man who, despite his toughness, values ​​family and loyalty above all else. His character is a testament to the complex storytelling, deep character development and moral complexity that make Peaky Blinders such a fascinating watch.


John Shelby, also known as "John Boy", is the main character in the Peaky Blinders universe. He is the third of the Shelby brothers and a high-ranking member of the Peaky Blinders gang. John was often referred to as the sexier of his siblings, which at the same time fueled his fiery bravado and impulsive decisions.
At the beginning of the series, John was portrayed as a war veteran returning from the First World War. The horrors of the battlefield affected him, as seen many times throughout the series. But his fierce loyalty to his family and gang was unwavering. After the war, he quickly found his place as an essential cog in the Peaky Blinders machine, carrying out numerous operations and missions.
In an effort to strengthen the gang's position, John married Esme, a member of the Lee family, a rival gang to the Shelbys. The move was part strategy and part heartfelt attachment, showing that while John was a hardened criminal, he wasn't without his sensibilities.
John's end was shocking, engulfed in the bitter feud of gang rivalry. His destruction wasn't just the loss of a brother or gang member; it symbolized the end of Shelby's invincibility and created a vacuum that challenged the balance of Peaky Blinders. To this day, in the triumphs and trials of the Shelby clan, his absence continues to reverberate, confirming that John Shelby was a character who left an indelible mark on the Peaky Blinders universe.
Although he wasn't the most subtle or strategic, John Shelby represented pure courage and passion, symbolizing the trauma many soldiers faced when they returned home from war, and the lengths they would go to to help those they loved. .

Creation and Development

John Shelby, the third and oldest of the Shelby brothers in the Peaky Blinders universe, is a character with a lot of depth and progression. Originally introduced as a protector of the family business, his character evolves from a minor character to a major character over the course of the series.
From the beginning, John was seen as strong, fiery and loyal. His devotion to the Shelby family is unwavering, even in the face of danger. However, when he is faced with the brutal consequences of their criminal activities, he becomes a very complex and multi-layered character. His World War I trauma is successfully traced as the story unfolds. This story fleshes out his character, explaining his explosive aggression and concomitant vulnerabilities. It also gives context to his sometimes controversial actions, adding even more to his personality.
John's growth from an almost two-dimensional character to a fully realized character is a testament to the expert storytelling and character development brought to the table by Peaky Blinders' creators, directors and actors. Although his tragic death in Season 4 came as a major blow to viewers, it cemented John's status as a central figure in the series, whose impact and influence continue to reverberate in subsequent episodes. In conclusion, John Shelby's character development shows a very thoughtful exploration of masculinity, power and psychological trauma in the violent underworld of Birmingham. It is a stark testament to the enduring complexity of human nature and the indelible scars of war. John Shelby is not just another character in the play; he is the epitome of troubled times, the epitome of infighting in post-war Britain, and the epitome of the harsh realities of the underworld. His powerful legacy in the Peaky Blinders universe is ultimately a testament to the nuanced and engaging storytelling for which the show is celebrated.

Character Profile

John "Johnny" Shelby is a veteran of the Great War who left as an ordinary man and returned as a decorated hero. As Shelby's third oldest brother, John's loyalty to the clan is as fierce as his wild nature. He plays a vital role in managing the clandestine operations of the family business, The Shelby Company Limited. Despite this, he is often at odds with his older brother Tommy Shelby due to their contrasting leadership styles.
Ion is magnetic, but unstable, characterized by strong impulsiveness. He is undeniably brave in the face of danger, often rushing headlong into situations without thinking them through enough. This arrogant attitude is often a double-edged sword that brings great benefits and great problems.
On a personal level, John is a passionate and romantic person, as evidenced by his relationships with women throughout the series. But she struggles to reconcile her desire for domestic bliss with the violent demands of her company. His life is a constant negotiation between these two worlds. While John certainly lacks the strategic acumen of his brothers, he has a unique resilience that strengthens the Shelby gang. His unwavering loyalty to the Shelby clan makes him an invaluable asset to their criminal operations. No matter what life throws his way, John Shelby fights with everything he's got and embodies the spirit of the real Peaky Blinder. John's character study is not only an exploration of one man in a post-war world, but also a testament to how far family loyalty can take one man.

Story Arc

John Shelby, also affectionately known as Johnny or John Boy, is a lovable character in the critically acclaimed BBC drama Peaky Blinders. The evolution of his character forms an intriguing storyline that captivates viewers from the very first season until his untimely death.
Born the third of the infamous Shelby brothers, John initially worked as a foot soldier for the Peaky Blinders, a gang led by his older brother Tommy. But it doesn't take long for him to rise through the ranks and take on the role of gang treasurer. His keen mind and unwavering loyalty to his family make him an invaluable asset to the Blinders operation. But John's life is not only debauchery and crime. His gullible nature often leads him to make hasty decisions, especially when it comes to love and relationships. His marriage to Esme Lee gives viewers a glimpse of John's romantic side. Amid all the chaos and crime, he longs for a stable family life.
However, John's unwavering loyalty to the Blinders always brings him back into the vortex of violence. His character shows the brutal reality of how a life intertwined with crime can inevitably end tragically. Betrayed and attacked by the Changretta family, John meets his end, leaving an indelible void in the Shelby family.
John Shelby's character arc goes beyond the typical gangster stereotype. His journey, riddled with loyalty, love, betrayal and tragedy, is at the heart of Peaky Blinders. Although her character ends untimely, she leaves a legacy that still reverberates through the subsequent struggles of the Shelby family.

Cultural Impact

John Shelby has had a major impact on popular culture since appearing on the hit series Peaky Blinders. From small-time gangster to strategic organizer in the Birmingham crime scene, John's character development is astonishing.
His uncompromising tenacity, combined with a surprising and occasional fragility, drew viewers into the gritty underbelly of early 20th-century Britain. The character's arc, which ultimately culminated in an untimely and violent death, sparked widespread debate and discussion among fans and critics alike.
John Shelby's influence extends beyond the small screen. His trademark style of three-piece suit, tweed cap and heavy boots became a hallmark not only of the character but also of the show's unique expression. This style led to renewed interest in the 20th century. 1920s menswear that led several popular fashion brands to release Peaky Blinders inspired lines.
Perhaps more importantly, his portrayal of a complex, multi-layered man struggling to balance his abusive profession with the demands of family obligations reflects wider social discourses about masculinity, power and vulnerability. John Shelby, along with the rest of the Peaky Blinders arsenal, is part of a rich tapestry that illustrates the complexity of this particular segment of British social history.


John Shelby, otherwise known as John Boy, left an indelible mark on the gritty underworld of Peaky Blinders. Despite his untimely death, his fiery spirit and unwavering loyalty to his family remained a guiding force. His devotion to the Shelby family, especially his brothers Thomas and Arthur, reflected his brave heart that never shied away from danger. Yet known for his quick temper and snap judgments, John had a gentleness that shone through in those he cared about, including his wife Esma and his children. He often bore the brunt of his siblings' decisions, but endured everything without hesitation or hesitation, showing his unwavering devotion to his family. Even after his tragic death, John's legacy lives on in his family and is a constant reminder of their duty to uphold the Peaky Blinders reputation, protect their own and never give up.