Peaky Blinders Cillian Murphy says cast have been desperately sad filming without Helen McCrory

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Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy has spoken about his heartache at filming the final episodes of the drama without late co-star and close friend Helen McCrory.

The pair had starred as Tommy Shelby and Aunt Polly since series one of the BBC programme, and Cillian was devastated not to be able to complete the sixth and final series with her.

He told Irish radio station Today FM: "It’s desperately sad. Sad for all of us who knew her, and the people who were close to her and the fans.

"She was like the matriarch of Peaky Blinders, and the person I was closest to. The Polly and Tommy scenes were some of my favourite scenes in the show. It’s desperately sad. We’re all still trying to come to terms with it."


Helen died in April aged 52 after a battle with cancer that had stayed private until her husband Damian Lewis announced the sad news on Twitter.

Cillian has spoken before at how heartbroken the cast were to have lost their friend and told The Guardian about his admiration for her.

He said: "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 has 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."

Helen and Damian had two children together and the couple had been married since 2007.

Co-star Sophie Rundle, who plays Ada Shelby in Peaky Blinders, posted her own tribute to Helen on Instagram as filming drew to a close.

She wrote: "God she was so f***ing cool though. It is entirely senseless and brutal to lose Helen, she was an extraordinary and remarkable person. Quite shockingly talented. What a privilege to have worked with her these past years, I can’t overstate how much I admired her. My thoughts are with her family and loved ones. Our Pol. What a heavy loss. We will miss her so dearly."

Peaky Blinders series six had its filming delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but recently wrapped and is expected on screens later in the year.

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