Belfast Telegraph

Packy Lee tells how he gave football hero a peek of Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders star Packy Lee, with Liverpool player Virgil van Dijk
Peaky Blinders star Packy Lee, with Liverpool player Virgil van Dijk
Peaky Blinders star Packy Lee (right) with actor Cillian Murphy
Ivan Little

By Ivan Little

Belfast's Peaky Blinders star Packy Lee has been reliving the "fantastic" day he showed his Liverpool footballing hero Virgil van Dijk around the set of the hit TV show.

And the Dutch defender, who is a huge fan of the BBC drama, later returned the compliment by taking Packy and his family to a Liverpool game.

Packy, who also supports Celtic, told Sky TV's Soccer AM that he thought someone was winding him up when they told him the player was about to visit the Peaky Blinders location.

"The door knocks and there's Virgil," said Packy, who admitted that he was starstruck.

"I'm Virgil van Dijk," he told Packy, before adding that he used to play for Celtic.

Packy replied: "I know you did. Let me give you my CV."

The west Belfast man added that he had the "joy" of bringing van Dijk around the normally off-limits Peaky Blinders set where a number of important scenes were being filmed.

But the footballing giant was in two minds about whether or not to look at the action.

Packy added: "It was weird because he's watching it and he's like, 'I want to be here but I don't want to watch it.'

"He was about to witness a couple of big spoilers and so he decided to pull back."

The Anfield star later took Packy and his family to a Spurs game where they met up with the Van Dijk family and "had the best experience of our whole entire lives".

Packy, who appeared in Terry George's Oscar-winning short movie The Shore, which was set in Co Down, told the Soccer AM presenters he had been warned about what he could and could not say about Peaky Blinders.

But asked if there were going to be more series, he replied: "Yeah."

After the TV show, Packy travelled to Birmingham to do a DJ set at what was billed as the Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival.

Liam Gallagher and Primal Scream also performed in front of 15,000 fans, many of whom were in clothing worn by the series' characters.

Some of the fans had travelled from Los Angeles for the festival where they were also able to get haircuts in the style of Peaky Blinders characters.

The series revolves around the rise of Thomas Shelby's crime gang in Birmingham where the IRA were also prevalent several months after the end of the First World War. Packy plays Johnny Dogs, a friend of Shelby's.

The name 'Peaky Blinders' is said to have come from the gang's practice of stitching razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps to use as weapons, sometimes blinding their enemies by head-butting them with their headgear on.

Packy said he had originally signed up for one day's work on Peaky Blinders. "It's turned out to be eight years," he added.

"I'm living the dream. It's fantastic."

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