Peaky Blinders: Cillian Murphy has smoked over 3,000 (herbal) cigarettes playing Tommy Shelby

He asked the prop department to give an estimate

Tommy Shelby is almost never without a cigarette in hand in Peaky Blinders, puffing away pensively as he devises ways to outmanoeuvre his rivals.

“People did smoke all day [back then] and it just became a Tommy thing,” Cillian explained of his character’s habit.

Actors have long since stopped smoking actual cigarettes for filming, but Murphy said he had put away a ton of the (much less harmful) herbal ones now preferred by the industry.

“There were these rose cigarettes that are herbal - Steve [Knight, the creator] would joke they're one of your five a day.

“I asked the prop guys to count how many I smoked just out of interest, and they think it's something like 3,000.”

Prop departments have a number of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to depicting drugs, switching out alcohol for coloured water and cocaine for powdered milk, baking soda or vitamin B powder, the latter of which is often used as by dealers as a cutting agent in actual cocaine.

Peaky Blinders returns for its third season next month, the first full-length trailer having dropped over the weekend.

Look out for our interview with the creator Steven Knight later in the week.

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