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By order of the Peaky Blinders...


By Alistair Whitfield

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The filming of Peaky Blinders gave the local tourist industry a timely boost as it continues to struggle with the pandemic.

Sworn to secrecy beforehand, several businesses have now come forward to say they helped house the cast and crew of the mega-popular TV show.

Durn House near Portsoy.
Durn House near Portsoy.

Filming took place at Portsoy Harbour over the course of five days last week.

During that period the boutique guest house Durn House played host to seven cast members.

Amongst them was Finn Cole, who plays main character Tommy Shelby's cousin Michael Gray.

Actor Finn Cole.
Actor Finn Cole.

Also staying was Packy Lee who plays his friend Johnny Dogs.

Sandra Scrudis, who runs Durn House with her husband John, said: "All the cast members were genuinely lovely – and I'm not just saying that.

"Packy Lee, in particular, was an absolute hoot.

"He had everyone in stitches."

Packy Lee who plays Johnny Dogs.
Packy Lee who plays Johnny Dogs.

Sandra added: "The cast really liked the fact that we're quite secluded and a little bit outside the village.

"What they didn't want was paparazzi hanging round outside."

Durn House's chef went to the effort of changing the whole menu every other night for the actors.

The trouble he had gone to was appreciated so much that, one evening, they all decided to sign it.

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While filming was taking place temperatures dropped as low as -7C and snow cascaded down on several days.

However the cast took the opportunity to return to Durn House whenever they could to defrost in front of its real log fires.

Sandra said: "Some were heading off for early shoots at 5am.

"Others were involved in night shoots.

"Basically, they were coming and going at all times – and we were very happy to be flexible and accommodate that.

"Having been closed, it was just wonderful for us to be open again."

Peaky Blinders had originally intended to film in Portsoy last summer.

But the pandemic put pay to that plan.

Sandra and John then got a call at the end of November enquiring if the cast could stay.

It turned out that the series' location manager had also been impressed with Durn House when he worked on the 2016 remake of Whisky Galore, which was also shot in Portsoy.

As the government had authorized that filming could take place the couple agreed to reopen their seven-bedroom property.

Sandra said: "It was great for us all to be working as a team again.

"And, of course, it was very exciting – there are several huge Peaky fans amongst the staff here.

"It was fantastic that a small place like Portsoy was able to welcome such a huge international production."

The Peaky Blinders benefit to local businesses stretched further than just Portsoy.

Five miles down the coast Andy Bain was letting out his four-bedroom holiday home to four of the crew last week.

Andy, a retired oil worker, said: "They really loved staying in Cullen and said what a beautiful place it was.

"I'd not seen Peaky Blinders beforehand, but I'll definitely be watching it now."

The Links Cullen on Reidhaven Street, which is owned by Andy Bain.
The Links Cullen on Reidhaven Street, which is owned by Andy Bain.

Related story: Seafield Arms Hotel gets a slice of the Peaky Blinders action


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