It’s hard to imagine what Peaky Blinders will look like without Helen McRory‘s inimitable Aunt Polly.
But Aunt Polly, set to marry the man she loved, and her love story will not play out in the sixth and final season of the BBC series. The actress stepped back from the role before filming began in January 2021 because of a private battle with breast cancer. In April, she died at the age of 52.
The tough and complex character played an integral role in the series, as she was the glue that held the Shelby family together. And after five seasons, Aunt Polly was close to getting her version of a happy ending following multiple near-death encounters and heartbreaks. Helen just wasn’t able to film that part of Polly’s life before she died.
Now, co-star Cillian Murphy is sharing how her death was a devastating blow to the cast. ”We were just reeling throughout the whole thing,” he told British Esquire in an interview published Tuesday, Feb. 1. “She was a dear, dear pal and she was the beating heart of that show, so it felt very strange being on set without her.”