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Helen McCrory, versatile actress who dominated the stage and shone on screen in Peaky Blinders and The Queen – obituary

The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer put her in his ‘pantheon of actors whose name in the programme always creates the anticipation of pleasure’

Helen McCrory, who has died of cancer aged 52, made her name as a subtle and intelligent stage performer, and later bucked the trend that consigns actresses to oblivion in middle age, becoming one of Britain’s most sought-after television stars in her 40s.

In the first decade of the new millennium she was hailed as one of the most promising presences in British theatre. Writing in the Telegraph in 2002, Jasper Rees placed her in the tradition of Judi Dench, Zoë Wanamaker and Imelda Staunton as “the small, punchy actress with a voice that can coat a back wall in honey from 100 paces.”

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Categories Charles II aka The Last King: The Power and Passion of Charles II Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Peaky Blinders Print Media

Helen McCrory’s journey from playing a protective mother in ‘Harry Potter’ to gang matriarch in ‘Peaky Blinders’ has been phenomenal

The British actress has played a number of unconventional roles — each getting more ambitious than the previous one.

 Helen McCrory's journey from playing a protective mother in 'Harry Potter' to gang matriarch in 'Peaky Blinders' has been phenomenal

There are only a few actresses who have been able to portray a mother who commits heinous crimes while maintaining her image as the savior matriarch. Going by this record then, British actress Helen McCrory has time and again excelled in roles that proved a mother is not only committed towards the well-being of her children but can be selfish enough to disregard the affairs of the world solely for the benefit of motherhood. Her characters might not be diverse but the confined roles that she plays have been executed until the last morsel has been squeezed out of those characters.

At the moment, McCrory is best known for her role as the Shelby matriarch, Polly Grey, a gypsy woman who is able to talk to spirits but at the same time commits a murder in the cleanest possible way. Polly Grey is one of the leading women on BBC One’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ but unlike her fellow characters, Polly holds the upper hand when it comes to the Shelby family business. As the company’s treasurer, Polly decides where the money goes and what happens with it, and let’s keep in mind this is a woman who lives in the early 1910s, a time when due to World War I men were out in the battlefield and women for the first time were taking control over business.

Continue reading Helen McCrory’s journey from playing a protective mother in ‘Harry Potter’ to gang matriarch in ‘Peaky Blinders’ has been phenomenal

Categories Fearless Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Interviews Peaky Blinders Print Media

Helen McCrory Interview: The Scotsman

Human Rights Lawyer: Fearless

by The Newsroom | The Scotsman | June 24, 2017


Fake news, post-truth, a world where there are no facts, only interpretations, if ever the time was right for a character like Helen McCrory’s human rights lawyer in ITV’s six part legal thriller, Fearless, it’s now.

Emma Banville believes in truth and the ability of the British legal system to uphold it, but not without a fight, and the tenacious lawyer is up for that fight. Known as a champion of lost causes, she sets out to prove the innocence of a convicted killer, who has served 14 years in jail for the murder of a schoolgirl, amid a backdrop of official conspiracies and cover-ups.

“Emma is a hunter for the truth, fearless and brave. She believes in Britain’s legal system and that it will strive for a just and fairer society, and that nothing is above the law,” says McCrory over the phone from the Fearless press junket.

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Categories Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Interviews Print Media

Helen McCrory Comes Home for Harry Potter

Helen McCrory poses for a portrait shoot in London on March 10, 2008. (Chris Terry/Contour by Getty Images)

Helen McCrory is puffing away on a roll-up outside the Charlotte Street Hotel, in Fitzrovia, concentrating intensely on a new role. “I am not,” she tells herself sternly, “only a mother.” The trouble is that for the past year, motherhood is the only part the actress has played, attending to the serious business of taking ladybirds off leaves, then putting them back again, with her two tiny children. The glamorous location was a house by the ocean in Santa Monica, where the contented stay-at-home wife of Damian Lewis (who was working on Life, an NBC cop series) settled almost too easily into the pattern of strolling with her babies down to the sea every morning in “just a pair of knickers” (the kids, not their mother).

She was amazed by the relentless work ethic around her: Damian’s 80-hour weeks of filming, the stream of cars on the six-lane freeway every morning, heading off to serve the Yankee dollar. “And people there never complain,” she says, pouring our tea with vicarage aplomb. “It’s always about the beautiful day, never ‘Oh f***, I’ve laddered my tights!’ Everyone you meet in the playground has had the teeth done, the skin done, the hair done…”

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