Tommy Shelby Holding a Gun meme.

Tommy Shelby Holding a Gun to His Head

Part of a series on Thomas Shelby / Thomas Slebew. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jan 02, 2023 at 05:14PM EST by Zach.

Added Dec 31, 2022 at 07:55AM EST by Philipp.

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Tommy Shelby Holding a Gun to His Head is a reaction image based on the cliffhanger ending scene of season five of the period crime drama series Peaky Blinders in which the main character Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy) holds a gun to his head in a suicide attempt. Online, the image gained virality as a reaction, and in December 2022, it achieved association with the Cels When phrasal template.


On September 22nd, 2019, episode six "Mr Jones" of season five of the period crime drama series Peaky Blinders premiered.[1] In the final scene of the episode, the main character Thomas Shelby is shown screaming and holding a gun to his head, with the episode ending in a cliffhanger (scene shown below).

The image of Tommy Shelby holding a gun to his head has been used as a reaction image for unfortunate situations that push one to the brink, usually in a comically exaggerated way, at least since October 2020. On October 8th that year, Twitter[2] account @ShelbyProbably posted the earliest viral tweet using the image, a How It Started vs. How It's Going meme, which gained over 3,600 retweets and 16,800 likes in two years (shown below).

The Devil, Probably @ShelbyProbably How it started: 6:54 PM Oct 8, 2020 . How it's going :


On August 9th, 2021, Twitter[3] account @peaky_script posted the image with a text description, with the post gaining over 80 retweets and 470 likes in one year (shown below, left). Until December 2022, the image saw occasional use as a reaction, often used by sports fans to react to poor results shown by the teams they support. For example, on February 26th, 2022, Twitter[4] user @htomufc posted the image together with recent match results of football club Manchester United. The tweet garnered over 1,300 retweets and 11,200 likes in ten months (shown below, right).

Peaky Blinders Script @peaky_script [Tommy screams as he points his gun to his head.] 1:00 PM - Aug 9, 2021 : h @htomufc Man Utd (1.67) 1-0 (0.27) West Ham Man Utd (4.32) 1-1 (1.43) Middlesbrogh Burnley (0.72) 1-1 (1.67) Man Utd Man Utd (2.53) 1-1 (0.71) Southampton Man Utd (2.57) 2-0 (1.17) Brighton Man Utd (2.53) 0-0 (0.51) Watford 1:09 PM. Feb 26, 2022

On December 20th, 2022, Twitter[5] user @AetiusRF combined the image with the Cels When caption format, with the tweet (shown below) gaining over 900 retweets, 1,100 quote tweets and 9,300 likes in two weeks and triggering viral spread of the image on Twitter in the following weeks.

Aetius @AetiusRF Citycels when you explain how a grocery store trip is just a five minute drive with heated seats in your car instead of waiting 30 minutes for a bus while watching the homeless man pleasure himself 7:59 AM Dec 20, 2022

In late December 2022, several memes using the image in conjunction with the Cels When format went viral on Twitter. For example, on December 21st, Twitter[6] user @bransonreese tweeted, "Awakecels when it's bedtime," with the tweet accumulating over 710 retweets and 11,200 likes in two weeks (shown below, left). On December 24th, Twitter[7] user @zuza_real made a tweet that gained over 1,200 retweets and 19,400 likes in ten days (shown below, right).

branson reese @bransonreese Awakecels when it's bedtime 3:00 PM Dec 21, 2022 ... atrophy wife @zuza_real babycels when you take their nose 9:13 AM Dec 24, 2022

Various Examples

TimTim @TimTimXLT Suburbcels when their new neighbor isn't white 12:45 PM Dec 22, 2022 : xiu_shoegaze @xiu_shoegaze she's following brian eno 3:38 PM Dec 23, 2022 ... 0-0 Dennis B. Hooper @dennisbhooper ... Gilbertcels when Sullivan says he cannot stage another opera for the Savoy 7:08 PM Dec 21, 2022
Jon Hamm's Penis (parodick) @JonsHamm Replying to @HijoleCabron and @AetiusRF Me having to add the words "citycels" and "suburbcels" to my vocabulary 1:53 PM Dec 21, 2022 : ... Wes Van Horn @wesvanhorn when my son says "daddy will you put down your phone and play with me?" ALT 2:40 PM Dec 21, 2022 ... TimTim @TimTimXLT Citycels when they go a day without seeing a homeless man piss in a jar and yell at a fire hydrant 6:25 PM Dec 22, 2022 .


Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – List of Peaky Blinders episodes

[2] Twitter – @ShelbyProbably

[3] Twitter – @peaky_script

[4] Twitter – @htomufc

[5] Twitter – @AetiusRF

[6] Twitter – @bransonreese

[7] Twitter – @zuza_real

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