Peaky Blinders season 6 has arrived, and it’s brought with it a new mystery – who is Gina Gray’s Uncle Jack Nelson? Spoilers ahead for the first episode!
Gina, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is the American wife of Michael Gray (Finlay Lewis J. Cole), and it turns out that her uncle is a very powerful man indeed. While we haven’t yet been introduced to him, we do find out that he’s on his way from the US with the plan to buy import licenses to Scotch and whiskey distilleries. He’s bringing with him the son of President Roosevelt, his wife, his mistress, and Gina herself.
As reported by Den of Geek (opens in new tab), there is a real-life basis for Uncle Jack: Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. – father to JFK and Bobby Kennedy.
In real life, Kennedy Sr. traveled to England with his wife Rose, his mistress Kay Halle, his son Joseph Jr., and the President’s son James Roosevelt. In 1933, towards the end of Prohibition, Kennedy Sr. purchased contracts to import certain whiskey and gin brands from Britain to the US, including Gordon’s gin – and that sounds a lot like Uncle Jack’s plans. You can check out more about Kennedy Sr.’s story over at History.com (opens in new tab).
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight even pretty much confirmed the connection to Den of Geek, answering “yes” when asked if Gina is a Kennedy, then clarifying: “No! I mean, I’m not giving that away so soon. As ever with Peaky [Blinders], you look at history and you take real facts and fictionalize them. There is a resonance with Boston, with senior politicians…” Uncle Jack runs Boston, while Kennedy Sr. was born there.
He added: “The best you can do as a writer is to take what really happened, which is always beyond anything you would dare invent, and then use that. And what really happened in the 1930s with these powerful people, is something that, as a writer of fiction, you wouldn’t dare to create because it’s so insane. So it’s trying to take some of that madness and chaos of reality and put it into the story.”
It remains to be seen how Uncle Jack will impact the final season of Peaky Blinders, which Knight has indicated isn’t quite the end of the road.
While you wait for the next episode, check out our guide to the best Netflix shows streaming now to fill out your watchlist.