FOR more than 500 years Arley Hall has been home to the same Cheshire family.
However, for two months in 2015 it was taken over by Birmingham gangster Tommy Shelby as filming took place for the third series of the award-winning BBC drama Peaky Blinders.
The results can be seen in the latest series of the show, at 9pm on BBC2.
Arley was transformed into Shelby’s home complete with bespoke portraits, 1920s furniture and an interior repaint to give the hall a masculine feel more befitting of his character.
“It’s been incredible to see the effort and attention to detail that goes into a production such as Peaky Blinders,” said Arley’s General Manager Steve Hamilton.
“There was a real buzz around Arley during the filming and it was great to work with the BBC on such a popular and critically acclaimed drama.
“The great thing now is that people will be able to visit us this summer and walk in the rooms where these amazing stars have filmed their scenes.”
Hollywood stars Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) and Helen McCrory (Skyfall, Harry Potter) were among those who became ‘regulars’ at Arley during five weeks of filming in November and December.
Tom Hardy – star of Mad Max: Fury Road and Kray twins movie Legend – completed one day of filming as he reprised his role as Tommy’s nemesis Alfie Solomons.
Arley’s library will double as Tommy’s study whilst the Gallery – where wedding parties usually enjoy their breakfast – became the Shelby family’s dining hall.
To the beady-eyed Arley will be easy to spot, but tables, chairs, lamps, lengthy curtains were brought in disguising its every day appearance.
Even the walls were painted dark green to match Tommy’s tastes and portraits of the lead character replaced those in Lord Ashbrook’s collection.
“We had an agreement that after the filming was done that everything had to be put back the way it was so an incredible amount of care was taken by everyone in the production team to preserve Arley’s heritage and character,” said Steve.
Season three of Peaky Blinders sees Tommy Shelby pulled into the glamorous and dangerous world of international intrigue in 1920s Britain, putting his entire organisation and family at risk, and forcing him to question everything about his own ambitions and desires.
Paddy Considine (Pride) joins the cast as the representative of a force beyond anything Shelby has previously encountered.
Creator Steven Knight, who has confirmed the series will open on Tommy Shelby’s wedding day, writes all episodes and said this would be the best series yet.
He said: “It’s still a Birmingham story and it always will be. Now, it has international consequences. I can’t wait to see it myself.”
Cillian Murphy said: “It’s the sign of a great show when by the second or third season it’s richer than ever. The writing this year is the strongest it’s ever been. It’s off the charts.”
The show is sold in 163 countries and airs on Netflix in the US. Visitors to Arley should check the website for the hall’s opening hours before planning their visit. Go to www.arleyhallandgardens.com