‘Peaky Blinders’ creator Steven Knight pays tribute to “perfect” Helen McCrory

"Helen McCrory was both the sovereign and the maid, regal and rebellious in the same minute"

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has shared a tribute to the late Helen McCrory.

The showrunner worked with McCrory as Polly Shelby in the hit BBC series.

“Helen McCrory was both the sovereign and the maid, regal and rebellious in the same minute,” Knight told the Radio Times (per Metro).

“There was a look she had that pinned the object of her gaze to the wall, amused and aloof and time-stopping. It was a look she used to frame the character of Polly Gray, from 2013-19.

“Her first moment as Polly on screen shattered all preconceptions of what a woman of her age living in those times should look like and act like.”

Polly
Helen McCrory as Polly Shelby in ‘Peaky Blinders’. CREDIT: BBC

Knight detailed Aunt Polly’s origins, which were inspired by his own life. He wrote: “I based the character of Aunt Polly on real working-class women I had grown up with: fierce, scary, protective of their own, funny and always aware of the absurdities of life.

“Helen was the perfect person to bring this amalgam of women to the screen in one stunningly vivid portrayal. Away from the business, she filled rooms and lit up places with her personality, and I can say now that her work on this planet had only just begun.”

Helen McCrory died earlier this month at the age 52 after a private battle with cancer. Her husband Damien Lewis revealed the news in a statement on Twitter.

“I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family,” he wrote.

“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives.

“She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”

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