Remembering Colleague and Friend Helen McCrory
by Helenistic | helen-mccrory.com | May 28, 2021
Peaky Blinders Official Twitter let the fans know today that they just finished filming the sixth and the final season of the series.
It’s a wrap! Huge thanks to the cast and crew of #PeakyBlinders season 6. You’ve given this one everything. And it's going to be epic…
— Peaky Blinders (@ThePeakyBlinder) May 28, 2021
Cillian Murphy, who led the Peaky Blinders tributes to Helen in April, recently revealed how hard it has been filming the last scenes of Peaky Blinders without her in an interview with Men’s Health Magazine.
Filming Peaky has been especially difficult this year for another reason. In April, four months into filming, series regular Helen McCrory passed away in her London home after a battle with cancer. McCrory had played Polly, the Shelby family leader and mother figure to Murphy’s Thomas Shelby, since the first episode in 2013. Murphy was off set the day he and everyone else heard the news.
“We’re all still deeply, deeply saddened,” Murphy says. “I’m deeply saddened and still trying to get over it. It’s hard to think of the series without her. She was so much a part of that. And always my favorite storylines were the Polly/Tommy storylines.” The season, Murphy says, will be dedicated to McCrory.
McCrory’s absence will make the final season especially charged for viewers as well. The word Murphy and the crew have been using to describe the final season is “gothic.” “Very big themes and big emotions,” Murphy explains. “It feels like a climax of something.” In other words, unlike its spiritual predecessor in The Sopranos, Peaky Blinders will go out with a bang. Audiences will not be unmoved.
Murphy also talks about losing his colleague and friend Helen in a recent interview with The Guardian.
“Oh, man. She was my closest colleague on Peaky, and one of the finest actors I’ve ever worked opposite. Any material, any scene … she made it special. She could do power and vulnerability, one after the other. She was just so cool and fun, and had such compassion for everyone she met. I was kind of in awe about how she lived her life – the way she balanced her work and her family so beautifully.”
Irish actor Ned, who plays Charlie in the hit BBC drama, admitted that shooting season six wasn’t the same without her.
He also recalled finding out about her passing.
He said: “That’s so sad. We kind of knew I guess we knew but people didn’t know that she was sick.
“Helen was great. It was just so strange this time, the final season we’ve just shot and just not having her around was so sad.
“The day that it was [announced], because of Covid you see every now and again you have these [days] where shooting would stop and there’d be an announcement that somebody’s test was inconclusive.
“So you just thought it was going to be another one of those announcements.
“But it wasn’t, it was Helen’s death so it was really a shock.
“Even though we kind of knew, it was still a shock.”
Ned also fondly remembered Helen, who is known for playing Aunt Polly on Peaky Blinders.
He said: “She was a force of nature, really witty, funny and just generally so cool. Just a mighty woman.
“She had some great stories. I remember particularly one time she was twirling around like a child for this scene that she was going to be drunk and stoned and opium-ed out of it.
“So she was twirling about five minutes before two camera takes.
“Then when we started shooting I realised my phone was in my pocket turned on, bells and whistles.
“Now I would never do that but my mum was sick at the time, that was my excuse.
“Helen had spun around like a child to make herself dizzy for five minutes and I can actually see the footage back and watch my face going white as it occurs to me that my phone is in my pocket and could go off.
“Helen would do bloody murder on me and rightly so. It didn’t go off, no, I survived.”
Here’s show director Anthony Byrne posting about wrapping the final season. Beautiful. Helen is always with her fellow Peaky Blinders in spirit.