Search icon


21st Mar 2022

Peaky Blinders fans convinced they have spotted crucial details about Tommy Shelby’s secret son

Charlie Herbert

We’re over halfway through the final series and the bombshells keep on coming… Spoilers ahead!

After dodging death for five series, it seems like Tommy Shelby’s past is catching up with him. In this sixth and final series we’ve seen him come to terms with the deaths of Aunt Polly, Aberama Gold and Barney Thomason, and the tragic passing of his daughter Ruby.

But as Esme Shelby told him: “A daughter lost, a son found.”

Yes, despite there seemingly being 101 plot threads and unanswered questions to still round up, Tommy was dealt another bombshell in Sunday’s episode, ‘Sapphire.’

His sister-in-law Esme delivers him the news after he gunned down the woman responsible for cursing Ruby, informing him: “Some business is still unfinished. Christians say the Lord lives, the Lord takes away. Our spirits are the same.

“The spirits just took away your child. The same spirits want to give you a different child.”

Tommy’s secret firstborn, Duke Shelby, played by BAFTA Rising Star nominee Conrad Khan, was from when he slept with a women called Zelda “under a hazel tree” before heading off to fight in World War One.

The revelation of Tommy’s secret first-born was the latest bombshell of series six (Anthony Byrne/BBC)

Esme explains that Zelda has since died and that Duke has hazel eyes. It’s this detail that could have wider significance for Tommy and his fate.

Back in episode one, Ruby had premonitions of “the man with the green eyes” when she first fell ill. Could this mysterious figure in fact be a man with hazel eyes? It’s an eye colour that is hard to categorically define and can sometimes be a mix of green and gold…

Conrad Khan plays Duke Shelby in season 6 of Peaky Blinders, and maybe beyond… (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

The hazel eye colour certainly seems to be a key characteristic of Duke’s, given the not-so-subtle emphasis Esme gives it.

At this stage, Tommy seems to have no interest in meeting Duke, telling Esme: “Whoever that boy is, our business is done here.”

Whether he’s the “man with the green eyes” or not, you’d think Duke is going to have a role to play in the climax to this series.

But it’s difficult to see how the show finds time to give him a proper role.

Along with the main plot of series six surrounding Oswald Mosley and Jack Nelson’s collusion to see a fascist uprising, there’s still an angry Michael stewing in prison in the US, Alfie Solomons pondering Tommy’s offer for revenge on the people who killed his uncle, and poor old Arthur struggling with his opium addiction.

And will we ever see youngest Shelby brother, Finn, again?

Coupled with the shocking revelation that Tommy has a tumour that will leave him needing round the clock care within a year’s time, some are speculating whether Duke could be the one to take over the Peaky throne as Tommy’s first born, especially with a Peaky Blinders film in the works as well.

Barring a medical miracle, it seems unlikely that Tommy will still be around by the time the film arrives, so it could be that Duke’s introduction is part of a longer plot thread ahead of the movie.

The show’s creator Steven Knight recently told Esquire that the “new generation” being brought in during series six are “going to be part of what happens in the film.”

We’ve already had the introduction of some new blood in the form of Isaiah’s friends in episode three who travelled with Arthur to Liverpool, so maybe there will be a changing of the guard for the Peaky Blinders.

Add in the fact that the film will be set during World War Two, with Duke being of suitable fighting age for conscription, and it seems that, whether it’s in series six or not, he’s here to stay.

Related links: