Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy has opened up about filming the sixth season without Helen McCrory. McCrory, who played the matriarch of the Shelby Family Polly Gray on the popular BBC TV series, died of cancer at the age of 52.
Speaking to Esquire UK ahead of Peaky Blinders season 6 release Murphy described McCrory as “the beating heart of the show” explaining how he missed her. “It felt very strange being on set without her,” he said. “The difficult thing to comprehend is that, if it wasn’t for Covid, there would be a whole other version of this show with Helen in it. But she was so private and so fucking brave and courageous.”
Murphy called McCrory an inspiration explaining how she cared about everyone and had a real warmth about her. “I still can’t believe she’s not here. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve never lost anyone like that — who was young and a friend,” he finished. “It was very confusing. But she was magnificent. She was an absolutely magnificent person.”
McCrory’s husband Damian Lewis announced the news of her passing on Twitter paying tribute to his “mighty” wife. “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family,” he wrote. “She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God, we loved her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”
News of her passing drew tributes from across the art world, including Michael Sheen, Bond director Sam Mendes, and her friends on the Harry Potter cast.
Her on-screen husband Jason Isaacs shared perhaps the most touching tribute of the Potter crew on Twitter. “Decades ago Helen and I auditioned together for a film,” Isaacs wrote on Twitter “I came home and said to Emma [Hewitt, his wife], ‘I think I’ve just met the greatest actress I’ve ever seen.’ After years of watching her mesmerize audiences, I don’t think that anymore… I know it”
Peaky Blinders season 6 is expected to start this February.