The Digbeth Kid comes home!

When: Thursday 23 October, 21:00 onwards
Where: The Spotted Dog, 104 Warwick Street, Digbeth, B12 0NH

By now, I’m sure all our readers are fully aware of our community screenings of Peaky Blinders at the Spotted Dog in Digbeth. Tomorrow’s screening, however, will be a bit special… Read on to learn more!

Last week saw the introduction, and (*spoiler alert*) demise of The Digbeth Kid. We exclusively uncovered the appearance of the character way back in April from Steven Knight, so after six months of waiting we were slightly disappointed his outing was so brief.

Needless to say, the character was well received, spawning his own spoof Twitter account (@DigbethKid) within minutes of the airing of the show, and adoration from none other than Annabelle Wallis, who played Tommy’s love interest Grace:

Our sister site Digbeth is Good spoke to James Eeles, who played The Digbeth Kid, and asked him a few questions about his turn in Peaky Blinders:

Digbeth is Good: Hi James, thanks for talking to Digbeth is Good! Let’s start at the very beginning: what was your audition experience like?
James Eeles: The audition process was surprisingly simple, in the fact I only did one! I auditioned for the part at the very start of the year, and with it being one of my first professional auditions, I was pretty nervous. I was called into a small room, I met the casting director and the director (Colm McCarthy). I did my audition piece, which was the snug scene from the episode, I was asked a couple of questions about where I was from originally, and then I was on my way. I didn’t hear anything for a good month or so, and thought “well that was a cool experience, maybe I’ll get the next part”. Then bam – I got a call from my agent telling me I’d got the part! Next thing I was off to Manchester to film.

DiG: There has been talk about the sometimes ‘questionable’ Brummie accents on the show. Did you struggle with it, or did you end up helping the other actors?!
JE: As I’m from Kidderminster, just ‘down the road’, and since my mum is a Brummie, I didn’t struggle with the accent at all. There was no problem with anyone else’s accents – if there had been, being the new boy I’d have probably kept my mouth shut!

James with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders

DiG: Did you feel like the new boy on set?
JE: It was a bit surreal and also quite daunting! Things like seeing inside of the new Garrison, and the new look Shelby betting rooms. I’m used to acting in a theatre with an audience watching – not having a director, crew and a camera right in your face. At one point I was standing with Paul Anderson (Arthur) and Cillian Murphy (Tommy) cracking jokes about my wooden gun and quoting lines from The Other Guys. You may be interested to know that my death scene took only one take!

DiG: You mention Paul and Cillian – did you get any tips from your co-stars?
JE: I didn’t get any tips, but I was made to feel right at home. Being shown around the set and getting compliments on my acting from the stars of a critically acclaimed TV series is something you can’t complain about!

DiG: Did you know much about Digbeth before the show? Did you do any research on the area after getting the role?
JE: I’ve been to Digbeth a number of times for gigs, and I’ve also been to the Spotted Dog before.

DiG: Finally, do you have any gossip you can share with us?!
JE: Unfortunately no spoilers to tell – I’m now just as clueless as you! But can I say that the response to the character has been brilliant; it’s been so nice reading all the RIP tweets and seeing mentions of the Digbeth Kid in reviews!

Huge thanks to James for talking to us – he may have shouted “I’m not real!” in the show, but he’s certainly the real deal to us! But that’s not all folks: if you want to meet a real life Peaky Blinder, you better get down to the Spotted Dog tomorrow. That’s right, James will be there to watch the next instalment of the show with us in the cosy atmosphere of a Digbeth local!

Who said we never do anything for our members? This is your opportunity to rub shoulders with a star from not only Digbeth, but Birmingham’s favourite series. See you there!

Metro Consultation for Digbeth

Centro is planning an extension to the Metro network, to link the HS2 terminus at New Canal Street with a proposed new multi-storey car park at Adderley Street.

It is expected that up to 12,000 people will arrive at the HS2 station every hour, so clearly a rapid transport system will be needed to expedite their onward travel. There are two options for the route through Digbeth and as such, a public consultation is being undertaken.

Option 1 - click for larger view Option 2 - click for larger view

Option one follows Fazeley Street before turning onto Liverpool Street. There would be a stop close to the junction with Great Barr Street and Heath Mill Lane. Trams would then continue along Liverpool Street before turning into Adderley Street.

Option two runs along New Canal Street and Meriden Street before turning left on to High Street Deritend. It would then run along the centre of the carriageway with a stop close to the junction of Milk Street to serve Digbeth Coach Station and the Custard Factory, before turning left into Adderley Street.

What the new tram route could look like

We feel that the second option for the route down Digbeth High Street makes more sense in terms of connectivity: the road is already wide enough to accommodate a tram without losing pedestrian and vehicular access; secondly, it would be strange for the tram to not connect Digbeth Coach Station to the rest of the transport network.

Depending on the timing of Government approval, trams could be open in Digbeth by 2023, three years ahead of the scheduled opening of HS2 in 2026, and 70 years after the last trams graced our streets. The image below shows a tram turning into Rea Street in 1953 – the year that trams stopped running in Birmingham. You can see more archive images on the Birmingham Mail website.

To have your voice heard in this consultation, visit one of the exhibitions below to speak to a member of the Centro team, or visit the website here:

  • Thursday 23rd October, 08:00-11:00
    Winter Garden, Fazeley Studios, Fazeley Street, Digbeth
  • Thursday 23rd October, 12:00-16:30
    The Dome, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth
  • Saturday 25th October, 09:00-15:00
    Exhibition Bus, Birmingham Markets

The Urban Village Vintage Fair

When: Saturday 25 October, 11:00–16:00
Where: Market Hall, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B9 4AA
Tickets: £1 entry fee

Urban Village couldn’t stay away from Digbeth forever! This weekend sees the return of the brand to the Custard Factory to play host to a day of quality vintage in conjunction with Clothes Show Live.

With stalls from across the UK and live entertainment through out the day, you’ll be in vintage clothing heaven, with accessories, records, homewares, books, and artwork all on offer too.

For more information visit the Facebook event page.

Have your say on the future of policing

West Midlands Police have launched a survey to consult the public on policing priorities for the next two years.

Thousands completed last year’s survey, which identified safeguarding the most vulnerable in society as just one of the key priorities. As a result, the force launched a far-reaching campaign to break the silence surrounding issues such as child sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito said: “The Police and Crime Plans belong to every person who lives and works in the West Midlands. They are key to addressing local priorities, building pride in our police and supporting economic development. This is your opportunity to make sure that we know what matters to you, so that the end results will accurately reflect your priorities. I encourage everybody to complete this survey if you have an interest in making our communities safer.”

Please click here to complete the questionnaire online before the deadline on Friday 31 October 2014. For information, the current policing plan for Birmingham is included below:

Bradford Street Environmental Improvements

Please see below for a letter sent from Birmingham City Council to residents of Digbeth earlier this week. The original letter can be found here.

As a part of its strategic objectives for the city core and its wider programme for the development for the City Centre, Birmingham City Council is proposing to improve the quality of the public realm along Bradford Street.

We are seeking to implement the following works early 2015:

  • Installation of new Street Lighting
  • Footway re-surfacing with blue brick pavers and replacement of tactile paving where required
  • Construct all vehicular footway crossings with pink setts
  • Installation of new pink Granite/Conservation Kerbs

The Council would like to hear your views on these proposals; we would be grateful if you could give us your feedback no later than 31st October 2014. Your response can be sent to or via

More awards for Digbeth Dining Club!

You may remember that last year Digbeth Dining Club was voted as the Best Street Food Event at the British Street Food Awards?

Well, they’ve only just gone and done it again!

Winning for the second year in a row, and only three years since its inception, DDC truly is a street food force to be reckoned with.

DDC founder Jack Brabant said “winning the award again was a complete surprise and a dream come true! Good street food is all about bringing people together to eat great quality food at prices they can afford.”

You’d be wrong to think that Jack and the rest of the DDC gang are about the rest on their laurels. Two Winter Wonderland weekends are being planned to take place in the run-up to Christmas, on 11-14 and 18-21 December, but there are also huge plans to take the show on the road for 2015.

All we can say is watch this space!

ViSE – Volunteering In Social Enterprise

When: Wednesday 29th October, 10:00-12:00
Where: iSE, Avoca Court, 23 Moseley Road, Digbeth, B12 0HJ

iSE are delighted to have been awarded an ESF Community Grant Award to support those who are unemployed, over the age of 19 years old and based in Birmingham to boost their employability skills and confidence.

The scheme includes:

  • a workshop providing advice on volunteering, interview skills, CV writing, and employers’ expectations
  • one-to-one support from an advisor
  • access to a two-three month placement within a fantastic local organisation (with a particular focus on social enterprise) who can then provide a reference for a CV.

The next workshop takes place on Wednesday 29th October in Digbeth; details of the placements will be given out at this workshop with the aim to match and start placements as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know could benefit from this scheme to increase experience, skills and maybe trial an ideal career, then please book your workshop place by emailing Emma ( or calling 0121 771 1411.

The Metabolic Landscape

When: until Saturday 8th November 2014
Where: Parkside Campus, Birmingham City University, Curzon Street, Digbeth, B4 7RD

Humankind’s search for more powerful sources of energy to sustain an urbanising existence has created an energy transition that, while hugely beneficial to human existence, is now being identified as a source of harm.

The Metabolic Landscape is a new book exploring the disciplines of art, science and philosophy to picture and interpret the planet’s current state of ‘metabolic distress’.

An exhibition designed to complement the book hopes to enquire on the world’s energy dynamics. The collective effort of Dr. Geof Rayner, photographer Gina Glover and artist Jessica Rayner, The Metabolic Landscape is now on show at the BCU Parkside Campus near Millennium Point.

Using photography, video, 3D sculptures and traditional prints, the artists examine how we use energy substances such as coal, oil, minerals gas and the sun.

Please see the Birmingham Eastside blog for more information.

Flicker Skitter Stumble

When: Saturday 18th October, 12:00-16:00
Where: A3 Project Space, Unit A3, 2 Bowyer Street, Digbeth, B10 0SA

The West Midlands has made some important contributions to the development of moving image – both the kaleidoscope and the flipbook were patented and manufactured in Birmingham.

Using this fact as a starting point, artists Stephen Snell and Steven Chamberlain, also known as Sellotape Cinema, will hold a workshop at A3 Project Space on Saturday to create a series of exquisite collisions with the residents of Digbeth and Bordesley.

See it…Stick it…Show it

Sellotape Cinema create films worked directly onto sticky tape and played through a specially adapted projector, so the resulting films hand-made can be seen immediately.

For more information, visit the A3 Project Space website.

October Antiques & Vintage Bazaar

When: Saturday 18 October, 10:00-16:00
Where: The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, B4 9AA

It’s that time again! The Antiques and Vintage Bazaar returns to the Custard Factory this week.

Step back in time with a very vintage day in Digbeth – from clothing to china, glassware to jewellery, artwork to silver, handbags to hats, there is something for everyone at the bazaar. Shopping can be thirsty work, so refreshments will be available on site in the form of the Ready Maids pop up tea room, along with Custard Factory residents Yumm Café and Alfie Birds.

If you can’t make it this time, never fear, the completely free event will return to Digbeth again for a special Christmas outing on Saturday 13 December!

For more information, click here to visit the B2B website, or call 01636 676 531.