I’m always a bit late to the party when it comes to stellar TV series (Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Fall, to name a few).
But this week I have developed an all-consuming obsession with Thomas Shelby the lead character in Peaky Blinders, played by chiselled-cheeked Irish actor Cillian Murphy.
I’d vaguely heard about Peaky Blinders a year or two ago – something about bad Brummie accents and a brief nod to 1920s fashion in Grazia magazine.
So it was only when I finally sat down to watch Peaky Blinders (on recommendation of the sister-in-law), that I became completely and utterly hooked.
Never has a lead character fascinated me quite as much since my long-standing fixation with Don Draper from Mad Men (aka The Best TV Series In The World Ever).
In Mad Men, Don was darkly enigmatic, brooding and inherently-flawed, but in Peaky Blinders, Thomas Shelby is all piercing blue eyes, porcelain skin and sharper than the razor blades concealed in his cap.
I shared my Cillian Murphy/ Thomas Shelby crush with friend Sally-Ann over a mid-week glass of Malbec.
Helpfully, I was carrying the season 2 DVD in my bag, having hastily ordered it the previous evening to feed the fixation (thank God for Amazon Prime).
I whipped it out of my bag and placed it on the table. Murphy’s cerulean eyes started back enchantingly.
Take a look. He may even be carved out of pure marble.
‘I completely understand,’ said Sally-Ann, sagely. ‘This is what happens when you’re old and married like us.
‘We basically start developing these ridiculous crushes. We’re only one step away from turning into cougars.’
The husband has also developed his own mini obsession – with Sam Neill who plays the bad-ass Victorian cop, hellbent on hunting Shelby down. He has a very strong Irish accent, which the husband likes to get his tongue around.
In the shower the other morning, I heard him saying in his best Ulster accent: ‘Let dog fight dog… and we will be there to pick apart the carcasses.’
And when I asked if he was going to put petrol in the car in Sunday he replied: ‘That I’m not. I’m going to hunt those BEASTS down.’
In the pub on Friday, I began bleating on about Cillian Murphy to anyone who’d listen.
One friend said she’d helped design an extension on his London home, although she never actually met him in person.
‘Yep, he does live in North-West London,’ I said, knowledgeably (I’ve done my Wikipedia research, natch). ‘He’s 38 and married with two sons. He used to be in a rock band. However, he shuns the limelight for a quiet life.
‘I’m probably going to travel down to London and become his full-time stalker.’
‘What is Peaky Blinders?’ another friend asked.
‘It’s about a gang of hoodlums in 1920s Birmingham, who basically go round attacking people with razor blades sewn into the peaks of their caps,’ I said, whilst thinking ‘this actually doesn’t sound very appealing at all’.
She looked on in barely-concealed bemusement.
‘I’m so obsessed that it’s a wonder I’ve even been able to leave the house,’ I continued.
‘I’ll be going straight home from here to feast on another episode.’
I’m now faced with a new dilemma. With only five episodes of season 2 left and season 3 still in production, do I restrict my intake to one episode a week, in order to prolong my love affair with the aforementioned?
Or do I watch them all at once in one gloriously gluttonous boxset binge?
After all, there’s always Broadchurch.