How troubled Paul Anderson was plucked from life of CRIME by film director who spotted him ticket touting

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Insiders warn fate of new Peaky Blinders film 'rests on his recovery' Paul Anderson is known around the world for his role as hellraiser Arthur Shelby

  • Insiders warn fate of new Peaky Blinders film ‘rests on his recovery’

Paul Anderson is known around the world for his role as hellraiser Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders – a notorious gangster fighting his inner demons and an addiction to drugs.

Fighting Demons Within

But just like the much-loved character, the 46-year-old actor has battles in his own personal life to overcome after he was caught with crack cocaine and an array of other narcotics in a pub on Boxing Day.

Fans were left shocked after he was photographed shuffling out of his local bakery this week. Mr Anderson appeared gaunt and his face has become increasingly worn and creased over the past year.

Real fears for his health has led to speculation that a much-anticipated return to playing Arthur Shelby could be under threat – just days after his co-star Cilian Murphy finally confirmed he would be willing to play Tommy Shelby in a Peaky Blinders movie.

‘If we want to watch 50-year-old Tommy Shelby, I will be there’, the Oppenheimer star told the BBC – but the big question now is will Arthur Shelby be with him?

Paul Anderson’s own rags to riches tale is so extraordinary it could be from the pages of a Hollywood script.

The Tales of His Life

South London-born Paul, who is nicknamed Boycie like the wheeler dealer friend of Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses, had been making ends meet on the very edge of the law when he got his break around 15 years ago.

After leaving school at 14 Paul wanted to be a lead singer in a band and made money working as a tout, which is illegal in the UK.

But a chance meeting with a film director outside Stamford Bridge where he was selling tickets for Chelsea versus Barcelona led to a big part in cult movie The Firm after the director said he found his touting ‘exotic’ and loved his rasping accent.

Fame and fortune followed, including a decade on Peaky Blinders and parts in Hollywood blockbusters including The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio and his close friend Tom Hardy, he he calls his ‘brother’.

Paul lives in a £1.2million property in north London and is believed to be single. He has previously been linked to a jewellery designer Stephy Clark but their relationship status was never made public.

READ ALSO: Every parent’s WORST nightmare is losing custody of their child. But to have your troubled 14-year-old taken and transitioned against your will?

He Was Arrested Last Month

But last month it emerged that Anderson was arrested after a drinker at his local in Hampstead told the pub’s manager he there was a smell of drug fumes coming from the disabled toilet after the actor walked out. 

Paul was carrying a crack pipe but denied he was using it.

He would play a pivotal role in any Peaky Blinders film but his drug conviction in January and allegations of bad behaviour on set could threaten his participation amid rumours filming could start as soon as the summer.

He Isn’t Giving Up

Yet despite his frailty, there are signs that he hasn’t given up hope of reprising the role that made his name. This week Paul responded to support from his Instagram followers.

One commented on a post: ‘By order of The Peaky Blinders’, to which Anderson replied: ‘Forever’.

How He Was Helped by Film Director

Paul’s big break came when he was on the wrong side of the law while touting tickets. 

He was approached by Chelsea fan and film director Nick Love who wanted a seat for the Champions League game in 2008.

After hearing his trademark gruff South London accent, Mr Love decided he was perfect for the part of football hooligan Bex in 2009 movie The Firm. 

Recalling His Story

Describing what happened, Paul said in 2017: ‘I happened to be outside and I was handling the odd ticket or two and sort of exchanging them for money. He was with a bunch of friends and I sold them ­tickets’.

Nick Love apparently found his touting ‘exotic’ and offered him a role in his upcoming film. The rest is history.

Paul said: ‘I earned a lot of money out of it [ticket touting] but that was all I got out of it’

He added ‘I always wanted to be a ­frontman in a band. Not a ­footballer. Not an actor. Certainly not a policeman or a fireman’.

But it was an actor he became, quickly turning into a cult hero, especially for his part as a Shelby brother for ten years when that break came in 2013.

What Inspired His Move Into Acting?!

Describing his move into acting he said: ‘I was inspired to attend drama school, so that’s what I’ve done. 

‘It was like going back to school for me. I left school very young; I left school when I was about 14, 15, so there was a large gap in my education. Going to drama school was like university that I never had’.

He says he understands why people ‘love’ his portrayal of Arthur Shelby, with some drawing comparisons between the two men.

He said: ‘Lots of people say, “We love Arthur,” and I don’t know why. I guess I do understand. The thing I love about him and why I like playing him is he’s not just this one-dimensional; he’s tough and he can be violent and brutal, but he’s not just that.

‘He’s got this inner turmoil, this dichotomy: “I don’t want to do this but I’m doing it because it’s my life and it’s the way things are.. He’s not turning over a new leaf and being a god-fearing, pious, nice man; he’s still suffering’.