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Tommy Shelby Driving the Booze-Free Bandwagon


*WARNING: includes Peaky Blinders’ SPOILERS (just diddy ones though)


With Peaky Blinders having reappeared on our screens last week, I’d be doing the Shelby family a disservice if I didn’t write something about them. The sixth and final series of the show has jumped forward four years, to 1933, where our beloved but troubled protagonist has undergone quite the transformation. That’s right, Tommy Shelby has gone sober.


People took to Twitter to express their outrage when Tommy, instead of his usual two fingers of whiskey, ordered something truly evil from the bar: a glass of water. The central character drinking water didn’t seem ‘right’ to some people, and left plenty of others confused.


You have to laugh at the fact that people are genuinely disappointed and puzzled because a well-liked TV character is choosing to quench his thirst with a life-giving liquid instead of a mild poison. Things have changed, but they haven’t changed that much.


Since ditching the drink, Tommy has apparently become a calmer and more peaceful person. Okay, he might still engage in some brutal (and illegal) behaviour now and then, but at least he’s feeling happier. He says that he’s ‘become a better man’ and has realised that ‘whisky is just fuel for the loud engines inside your head’. We couldn’t agree more, Tommy.


Apparently, he’s been rocking the sober glow for the entire four years since the end of the last season. We are all proud; four years is quite the milestone. He even bravely refuses a drink several times, despite the presence of some ugly and obtrusive peer pressure. He tells the perpetrator: ‘now, I’ve been very patient, given the circumstances, but you need to sit down and let me read my newspaper.’ I’ll remember that one the next time someone tries to convince me to have a pint with them when I've already said no.


Arguably the most exciting thing about this development is the fact that a central, interesting character in mainstream media has gone sober and not (yet) been portrayed as boring because of it. This would not have happened a few years ago, so it’s very exciting progress. Things are improving! Of course, things could change in the show at any time. Tommy could go back to booze in episode two, proclaiming whiskey is actually great after all. But let’s hope not, eh?


Perhaps if more beloved characters were to make this bold choice, people would realise that giving up alcohol doesn’t make you weird or dull. The opposite is true; some of the most interesting and colourful people out there are members of the sober community. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see more complex characters embracing alcohol-free life. There are plenty of us out there, and that number is only going up!


If Tommy can embrace sober life in the 1930s, we can do it in 2022
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