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Warning: spoilers ahead
Peaky Blinders fans finally know how Helen McCrory’s death is addressed in the script after the long-awaited series 6 hit screens on Sunday night.
The screen icon, who played Shelby matriarch Polly Gray, passed away in April 2021 aged 52, just months before filming started on the final season of the hit BBC series – but until last night it was unclear whether her character would return to the screen or be ‘killed off’.
Writers remained tight-lipped about how they’d approach the screen icon’s absence in s6, but it has now been revealed that Aunt Pol died after being murdered by the IRA.
Her departure was confirmed in an emotional scene that saw her body burned in a funeral pyre, her portrait peering out from behind a cloud of smoke.
Episode one was also dedicated to Helen with a poignant tribute in the rolling credits.
Speaking to Tyla, Sophie Rundle – who plays Pol’s niece Ada Thorne – explained that filming the scene felt like a goodbye of sorts.
“It was a really moving thing to have to do,” she said. “It was real and there was a real sadness there, and not something anybody wanted to be doing. It didn’t feel right to be there without her, but that whole sequence was really moving.”
Speaking about Helen’s absence on set, Sophie added: “Helen was really loved by people as well as her character. It’s heartbreaking, really, what happened.
“But she stays a fundamental part of the show and she helped make the show what it was.”
Helen kept her battle with breast cancer private and her death last year prompted a wave of tributes from the film industry.
The sixth and final season picks up in 1934, with the Shelby clan reeling from a devastating betrayal as they blaze a trail through the twin peaks of business and politics.
It was beset by filming and production delays caused by the pandemic, and while creator Steven Knight has confirmed this will be the last series of the Brummie gangster saga, he has promised a spinoff movie featuring Tommy Shelby will follow.
Peaky Blinders airs Sundays, 9pm on BBC One and will be available on iPlayer
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