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Peaky Blinders: Why did Joe Cole quit Peaky Blinders? What happened to John Shelby? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV


Joe Cole starred as John Michael Shelby in Peaky Blinders from 2013 until 2017. The actor is the brother of actor Finn Cole, who plays his cousin Michael in the series. Sadly, Cole decided to leave the crime-drama in 2017 after three seasons and has spoken out about his reasons for doing so.

Why did Joe Cole quit Peaky Blinders?

Before Peaky Blinders, Joe Cole was best known for starring in Skins as Luke.

Other previous credits include The Hour, The Thick of It and Injustice.

In 2017, Peaky Blinders fans were left devastated after season four, when John was shot dead in the second episode.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Cole explained he left the show to pursue other acting projects.

He said: “I was just busy doing other projects.

“I wouldn't have been able to do Black Mirror, I've got a bunch of films that I'm trying to do.

“I thought it was my time to go, give other people an opportunity for their parts to grow. I thought it was the right time to pass the baton on.“

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Speaking separately to the Metro, Cole added: “‘I wanted variety, I want to challenge myself. I want to surprise people and it just came in hand-and-hand with that season and that fatality.”

Cole is also known for playing Frank in the Black Mirror season four episode Hang the DJ.

For the role, he earned himself a BAFTA-nomination for Best Actor.

Cole also is well recognised for playing Charlie in the Channel 4 comedy-drama series Pure.

Since leaving Peaky Blinders, the 30-year-old actor has participated in numerous projects.

He even won the Best Actor at the 2018 British Independent Film Awards for his role as Billy More in Prayer Before Dawn.

Cole also starred in the films Eye on Juliet, Woodshock and Happy New Year Colin Burstead.

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He also appeared in the 2017 film Thank You For Your Service alongside Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Amy Schumer and Scott Haze.

Speaking about Cole’s choice to move on to other projects, his brother Finn told Express.co.uk: “It’s a shame it’s the first season without my elder brother, so to be back for the first time… I had to do it on my own this time.

“But as they say we’ve had this team for a long time so we’re very supportive of each other so it’s a very comfortable family and very exciting.

“Not only was he a fantastic character and great actor, but it’s nice to have a mate on set.

“Your brother to kind of enjoy the bits off-camera too, so it was fantastic.”

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What happened to John Shelby?

John was the youngest of the three Shelby brothers, who lost his wife during the first world war.

He was left to bring up his four children, which he struggled with.

John then married Esme (played by Aimee-Ffion Edwards), to keep the Lee family and the Shelby’s from being enemies. They ended up having two children together, meaning John was a father to six children.

John Shelby was killed off at the beginning of season four when the Shelby brothers tried to flee the Changretta brothers.

After receiving the Black Hand Christmas card from the Changretta Family, John did not react as fast as his brothers hope

He also missed a phone call from Tommy (Cillian Murphy) at night, where he planned to tell his brother to leave his countryside home and bring him and his entire family to Small Heath.

Michael (Finn Cole) went to retrieve this brother but as John answered the door, they were ambushed by the Changretta brothers, resulting in both of them being shot in the chest.

While Michael makes a miraculous recovery, John was not so lucky, losing his life.

Speaking to the Independent about John’s exit, he said: “I think it was perfect for John to go in that way, to die fighting. He's fundamentally a soldier who fought in the First World War, his whole life was battle and I think it was the correct way to end his journey.”

Peaky Blinders is streaming on BBC iPlayer now


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