Internationally-renowned actor Sam Neill appeared in The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival in Digbeth on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised when fans sang ‘Happy Birthday’ as he sat with cast members from the hit BBC series.

Sam Neill, who turned 72 today, was born in Omagh, Northern Ireland, and later moved to New Zealand.

He has appeared in major Hollywood blockbusters like ‘Jurassic Park’, and award winning films such as ‘A Cry in the Dark’, and he has also worked in television drama over the years.

Screenwriter and director Steven Knight cast him in hit BBC drama Peaky Blinders as Major Chester Campbell who is on the trail of the Birmingham criminal gang led by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy).

Rangzeb Hussain | I Am Birmingham
Director Steven Knight (centre with Sam Neill) cast Neill as Major Chester Campbell in ‘Peaky Blinders’

The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival which takes places across the weekend started off with a Q&A session at the Digbeth Arena in Lower Trinity Street.

Some of the cast and crew from the hit BBC drama series were in attendance, including Steven Knight and Sam Neill.

Rangzeb Hussain | I Am Birmingham
Sam Neill (third from left) takes part in the Q&A session during the Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival

At the climax of the session it was announced that today was Neill’s birthday at which point the packed audience inside the Arena began to sing out ‘Happy Birthday’.

The sound echoed and reverberated off the huge Victorian railway arches and Neill was noticeably moved by the song.

Rangzeb Hussain | I Am Birmingham
Peaky Blinders fans sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sam Neill inside the Digbeth Arena

The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival will continue through Sunday and more details about performances and times can be found here.

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