Packy Lee (Johnny Dogs) on Peaky Blinders: 'We have Tom Hardy back playing Tommy’s nemesis Alfie'

Describe Johnny Dogs, who he is and what relationship he has with the Shelbys?

Johnny Dogs is a very good, loyal friend to Tommy and the whole Shelby family. When we first started four years ago we had an idea that Johnny would have known Tommy since they were kids. So I have always played it that I treat and talk to Tommy as if he were a kid, even when he’s becoming more and more powerful as the story goes on. It’s great that I can relate and talk to him like that. Johnny Dogs is a gypsy. He also hangs out with the Lee family, especially when Tommy went off to war in series one. I am the character Tommy goes to when he needs something from the full-blooded gypsy world.

How much of Johnny Dogs did Steve Knight put on the page and what did you bring into the creation of the character?

It was very hard playing Johnny Dogs because a gypsy accent is a bit different to the one I’m doing. We went through various accents, a bit of Birmingham and a bit of Liverpool. I’ve based Johnny on people that I know. I had great fun in finding the character of Johnny Dogs, which is not something that you’re normally given the licence to do as an actor. Steven gave me the licence to create as much of my character as I could.

What can you tell us about the treat to the Peaky Blinders this year?

The big threat this year is Adrien Brody’s character, Luca Changretta, who is part of the Italian mafia.

Describe Johnny Dogs, who he is and what relationship he has with the Shelbys?

Johnny Dogs is a very good, loyal friend to Tommy and the whole Shelby family. When we first started four years ago we had an idea that Johnny would have known Tommy since they were kids. So I have always played it that I treat and talk to Tommy as if he were a kid, even when he’s becoming more and more powerful as the story goes on. It’s great that I can relate and talk to him like that. Johnny Dogs is a gypsy. He also hangs out with the Lee family, especially when Tommy went off to war in series one. I am the character Tommy goes to when he needs something from the full-blooded gypsy world.

How much of Johnny Dogs did Steve Knight put on the page and what did you bring into the creation of the character?

It was very hard playing Johnny Dogs because a gypsy accent is a bit different to the one I’m doing. We went through various accents, a bit of Birmingham and a bit of Liverpool. I’ve based Johnny on people that I know. I had great fun in finding the character of Johnny Dogs, which is not something that you’re normally given the licence to do as an actor. Steven gave me the licence to create as much of my character as I could.

What can you tell us about the treat to the Peaky Blinders this year?

The big threat this year is Adrien Brody’s character, Luca Changretta, who is part of the Italian mafia. We also have Tom Hardy back playing Tommy’s nemesis Alfie Solomons. We have Aidan Gillen this year playing this wonderful new character, Aberama Gold. We’re not too sure which way he will swing because he changes like the weather. One minute he may stick a knife in Tommy’s neck and the next he might give him a hug. We just don’t know. So there are a few bad boys, not just the one.

Is Johnny Dogs someone that Tommy can always turn to and trust in?

He will always try and argue the case but once Tommy gives him a certain look, he will immediately jump onto Tommy’s bandwagon. He trusts him. Look how far we’ve come. Look at the clothes we’re wearing and the way we’re wearing them. It’s all because of Tommy. The money we’ve got, it’s all Tommy. Johnny trusts him 100%.

There is great attention to detail in the production design of the series. Can you talk about some of your favourite locations/sets in this series?

We loved Arley Hall last year and we were filming there again this year which was lovely. I love Birmingham and I think the Black Country Living Museum is an amazing place to film in. The way we’re allowed to use it is incredible. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a visit. Manchester’s fantastic also.

What were some of your favourite moments to film on the series?

All the scenes where the extended family is gathered in Charlie’s Yard is every young and old actor’s dream come true. You’re surrounded by a wealth of talent on and off screen. We’ve been doing this for years now and we’re like family. It’s great. When those big scenes come, it’s like a team effort. We just come together, all headed by Cillian.

What moments are you particularly excited about seeing unfold on screen when the series airs?

As an audience member, there’s not going to be one split second of any episode that you’re not going to be begging for more. What’s great about the series is that everyone watches it, regardless of age. Everyone is glued to the screen to see what happens next to Tommy and the Peaky Blinders.

There is a lot of Peaky Blinders fan art out there. How does this make you feel?

I love the fans and what they’re doing. Someone has a tattoo of me on his back. It’s odd to see but it’s great. A big shout out to the fans for all their artwork. Apparently somebody else has one on his arm and it has ‘Johnny Dogs’ written down the side of it and Peaky Blinders and all the characters’ names. Every day, something shocks me. I was walking through the centre of Birmingham one day and a massive lorry drove past me with the entire Peaky Blinders cast on it. It’s wonderful to see. I’m a fan of the show too so everything they feel, I feel the same way. I’m very proud to be a part of the series.

. We have Aidan Gillen this year playing this wonderful new character, Aberama Gold. We’re not too sure which way he will swing because he changes like the weather. One minute he may stick a knife in Tommy’s neck and the next he might give him a hug. We just don’t know. So there are a few bad boys, not just the one.

Is Johnny Dogs someone that Tommy can always turn to and trust in?

He will always try and argue the case but once Tommy gives him a certain look, he will immediately jump onto Tommy’s bandwagon. He trusts him. Look how far we’ve come. Look at the clothes we’re wearing and the way we’re wearing them. It’s all because of Tommy. The money we’ve got, it’s all Tommy. Johnny trusts him 100%.

There is great attention to detail in the production design of the series. Can you talk about some of your favourite locations/sets in this series?

We loved Arley Hall last year and we were filming there again this year which was lovely. I love Birmingham and I think the Black Country Living Museum is an amazing place to film in. The way we’re allowed to use it is incredible. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a visit. Manchester’s fantastic also.

What were some of your favourite moments to film on the series?

All the scenes where the extended family is gathered in Charlie’s Yard is every young and old actor’s dream come true. You’re surrounded by a wealth of talent on and off screen. We’ve been doing this for years now and we’re like family. It’s great. When those big scenes come, it’s like a team effort. We just come together, all headed by Cillian.

What moments are you particularly excited about seeing unfold on screen when the series airs?

As an audience member, there’s not going to be one split second of any episode that you’re not going to be begging for more. What’s great about the series is that everyone watches it, regardless of age. Everyone is glued to the screen to see what happens next to Tommy and the Peaky Blinders.

There is a lot of Peaky Blinders fan art out there. How does this make you feel?

I love the fans and what they’re doing. Someone has a tattoo of me on his back. It’s odd to see but it’s great. A big shout out to the fans for all their artwork. Apparently somebody else has one on his arm and it has ‘Johnny Dogs’ written down the side of it and Peaky Blinders and all the characters’ names. Every day, something shocks me. I was walking through the centre of Birmingham one day and a massive lorry drove past me with the entire Peaky Blinders cast on it. It’s wonderful to see. I’m a fan of the show too so everything they feel, I feel the same way. I’m very proud to be a part of the series.

Peaky Blinders IV returns tonight, November 15 at 9pm on BBC Two 

November 15, 2017 1:53pm by BBC TWO  

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