Gosh, open letters seem to be the weapon of choice these days, don’t they?
And I have something to get off my chest. So today, we interrupt normal booky programming to bring you this message.
Dear BBC Productions,
Sometimes, when I’m watching your work, I have an irresistable urge to hunt down some of the crew, and shoot you point blank. In the face.
Crew hairdressers (known in industry shorthand, I’m reliably informed, as “Hair”) are the current targets for my wrath. Particularly on Peaky Blinders, BBC’s 1920s Birmingham gangster drama. What is it about costume drama on television, that you have this need to make actresses look modern rather than contemporary to the period they’re supposed to bloody be in? Would the programme fall apart if the women looked as authentic as the men? Of course not. What the hell is wrong with you?
You have 3 female leads in Peaky Blinders, all pirouetting prettily around the central character, Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy). One of them is Thomas Shelby’s Aunt Polly. The other is Thomas Shelby’s sister, Ada. And the third is Grace Burgess, Thomas’ Irish (my eye) love interest.
All 3 of them walked out of a Pantene ad c. 2004. Grace’s hair is so shiny you can practically smell the shampoo. In Manchester. Uniformly smooth waves tumble gently about her face, just the way mine would – if I put rollers and setting lotion in it for 3 hours, before having it brushed gently, 100 times, by a whimpering Victorian orphan.
Ada’s hair was shaved off Davina McCall’s skull ten years ago and hand-sewn into a wig, before being cut into a short, pert bob which was the height of Bright Young Thing fashion in London, approximately 5 years after the setting of Peaky Blinders. And Aunt Polly never has a bouncy curl out of place, which is no mean feat for a hard-nosed woman living in a house with more thieves and murderers than there are ashtrays.
I’m no hair expert, but I would think living in a place where the sun never pierces through the smoke and soot choking an entire English city Up North in a post-WWI depression reminiscent of the 19th century industrial revolution, might result in frizzy, filthy, lank locks which get washed once a fortnight and styled once in a lifetime. Staring at these overdone tresses just makes me wonder whether I emptied the washing machine.
Place a peaky blind-fold on your hairdressers, please. Tell them to keep a tight grip on their hairdryers and place their backs to the wall.