An influx of Peaky Blinders devotees has put Birmingham on the map as the latest hotspot to benefit from ‘screen tourism’.
The city welcomed a record 42 million tourists in 2018, boosted by fans of the gritty drama visiting the streets of Birmingham in the hopes of gaining a glimpse of the Shelby family’s home turf.
Overseas visitors contributed £16.7 million to the region as a result of screen tourism, according to new data from the West Midlands Growth Company. The company says visitor numbers have grown 26 per cent between 2013 and 2018, while international visitor numbers rose by 19 per cent to 1.1 million during the same period.
“Peaky Blinders’ fantastic success has introduced Birmingham and the West Midlands to a new global audience. Record numbers of tourists are now visiting the region, with many people wanting to explore the places and stories associated with the show,” says Andy Street, former MD of John Lewis and current Mayor of the West Midlands.
“The Peaky effect is really gaining momentum here, with tours and events in the West Midlands selling out months in advance. As series five hits our screens, I’d encourage more people to come here and experience the show’s history – and its accents – for themselves.”
The Peaky Blinders licensing programme is handled by Endemol Shine Licensing, which earlier this year unveiled a raft of partnerships. Licensees include independent publisher Michael O’Mara Books, and leading manufacturers and distributors Bravado, Corsair, GB Eye, Danilo and BB Designs, who have brought to market everything from Peaky Blinders books to shot glasses and hair care products.
Commissioned by the BBC, Peaky Blinders first aired in 2013 and premiered to record viewing figures on BBC One. More than 76,000 fans from as far afield as New Zealand applied for tickets to the BBC’s world premiere of series five at Birmingham Town Hall.
Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Midlands, says: “Peaky Blinders has had such a positive effect on the local economy, but the full cultural impact is immeasurable. The drama has shown the world what an incredibly cool and fascinating place our city is. The BBC takes pride in telling stories that celebrate our audience’s hometowns across Britain – and Steven Knight's Peaky Blinders has been a game-changer for Birmingham.”
Other branded family destinations attractions such as Legoland Discovery Centre and the Bear Grylls Adventure also found favour with families, helping to draw tourism across the wider West Midlands area.