Scots Peaky Blinders viewers cringe at 'brutal' Glaswegian accent

Dublin actor Brian Gleeson plays 'Bridgeton Billy Boys' gang leader Jimmy McCavern. Picture: Peaky Blinders/BBC One
Dublin actor Brian Gleeson plays 'Bridgeton Billy Boys' gang leader Jimmy McCavern. Picture: Peaky Blinders/BBC One
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A Glaswegian gang leader's accent in the latest episode of Peaky Blinders has become a big talking point north of the border, with one viewer labelling it "the worst Scottish accent since Mel Gibson".


**Warning YouTube link contains strong language**

Scots viewers were glued to their screens on Monday evening as the second episode of the hit BBC show's fifth season introduced a new character: 'Bridgeton' Billly Boys leader Jimmy McCavern.

In a dramatic scene, McCavern and the rest of the bigoted Billy Boys arrive chanting before sending a message to Birmingham leader and MP Thomas Shelby in a brutal and bloody manner. A flurry of violence sees characters ruthlessly shot and crucified in a matter of minutes.

READ MORE: Peaky Blinders set to feature Glasgow gangs

But the moment was tainted somewhat for many Scots fans of the show when Billy Boys hardman Jimmy McCavern - played by Dublin actor Brian Gleeson - delivered his first lines.

A large number of Scottish viewers, some enraged, others amused, took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Gleeson's efforts to replicate the Glaswegian brogue.

READ MORE: Sophie Rundle on the new season of Peaky Blinders

Many queried why a Scottish actor was not used to portray the Billy Boys leader.

"The worst ever Glasgow accent on #PeakyBlinders. Why not just cast a Glaswegian actor?," tweeted Denzil Meyrick (@Lochlomonden).

Mori Christian (@MoriCOldcorn) added: "Why oh why wasn’t, at least, a Scottish actor, or one who could do a Scottish accent, (never mind Glaswegian) employed to play the leader of the Billy Boys?! I’m SO disappointed in an otherwise outstanding cast and production. No disrespect to the actor, but, seriously, why?!"

Josh Williamson (@joshwilliamson9) piped in: "F****** hell BBC couldnae have got a Scottish actor to play the role of the Scottish guy, heard better Scottish accents by the reps in Napa."

Weighing up the show's violence against the quality of its dialect coaches, Martin Geissler (@mmgeissler) wrote: "Most brutal act of violence in the whole of #PeakyBlinders is the all-out assault on the Scottish accent happening right now."

While Chanella Fruitella (@chlonellis) fumed: "Somebody’s due the jail for allowing that rotten attempt at a Scottish accent on the tele."

Iain Robertson (@IainR0bertson) seemed to have figured out Gleeson's birth country when they tweeted: "I love that #PeakyBlinders cast someone who’s Scottish accent is so chronic as the head of the Bridgeton Billy Boys, that the character sounds like an Irishman."

And some claimed Gleeson's Glaswegian was as bad as a certain Australian A-lister's effort in Braveheart.

@jdunster86 tweeted: "Worst Scottish accent since Mel Gibson."

Chris Grant (@ChrisGrantBJJ) agreed, writing: "Cracking couple of episodes of Peaky Blinders, but those Glaswegian accents almost had me switching it off. The boy might be a good actor, but his accent is easily worse than Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent. Brutal."

A few viewers, however, leapt to the Irish actor's defence.

Paula (@twoifbysea71) said: "So. What we've learned tonight is Brian Gleeson is a really good actor but Glaswegian accents are not his thing."

@glioriginali_ wrote: "Couldn’t give a f*** about Brian Gleeson’s accent tbh, made up he’s in it. Absolutely boss actor."

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight previously commented: “We have someone playing a fictionalised version of a real Glasgow character who was around in east Glasgow, Billy Fullerton. The man who ran the Billy Boys.

“The truth is that in the late Twenties and Thirties really the hardest gangs were in Glasgow. There was a very definite structure to the gangs so I have been delving into the history of that.

“They become involved through a bit of invention, some creativity. We are going to start the series in 1929 which was a time of big economic upheaval and the gateway to the Thirties where we all know what happened.

“It’s a rich vein to be mining.”

It was reported earlier this week that Peaky Blinders' move to BBC One gave the drama its highest overnight ratings for series launch so far.

The first episode of series five was watched by an average of 3.7 million people, peaking at four million.

The first four series aired on BBC Two.