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23rd Feb 2022

Peaky Blinders creator explains how Helen McCrory influenced final season

The loss of Helen means that the final season will go in a slightly different direction.

Steven Knight, the creator of the hugely popular crime period drama Peaky Blinders, has spoken about the influence the late actor Helen McCrory has had on the show’s final season.

Helen played Aunt Polly, a mother-figure to Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) for five seasons before her death last year.  She passed away at home on April 16 2021 after bing sick with breast cancer.

Over the past year, the cast and crew have paid tribute to Helen, and that looks to continue ahead of the new season, which will premiere in just a few days.

As RadioTimes reports, the show’s creator Steven Knight has revealed that Helen’s passing caused them to change the direction of the final season.

Originally, a seventh season was planned which saw the gang living against the backdrop of World War II, but that has since been scrapped. Instead, the sixth and final season will explore the beginnings of war and a feature length film will delve further into the issue.

Outlining the change of plan, Knight said: “The reason is boringly practical which is that we lost a year due to the pandemic. The way these things are scheduled, it’s like turning an oil tanker around.”

He continued: “We just felt, also with the loss of Helen [McCrory], that it all seemed to be pointing towards doing what I’m calling ‘the end of the beginning.’ Let’s end the beginning, then let’s do the film. And then let’s see where we go in terms of spin offs.”

Last year, Cillian Murphy spoke about the challenge of filming the show without Helen.

On the Dermot and Dave Show on Today FM, he said: “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.”

Season six of Peaky Blinders will air on Sunday 27 February on BBC One at 9pm.