Cillian Murphy Just Said The Most Moving Thing About Helen McCrory

The Peaky Blinders star spoke about returning to the set without Polly in a new interview.

Peaky Blinders actors Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory at a press junket for the BBC One Show
Anthony Harvey / Contributor/Getty Images

Fans are eagerly awaiting the final season of Peaky Blinders, which is set to premiere on BBC One later this month. Meanwhile, the show’s lead male, Cillian Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby, is reflecting on the legacy of his late co-star, actress Helen McCrory.

In a new interview with Esquire, Murphy spoke about the impact McCrory, who played Aunt Polly, had on the show, as he opened up about mourning the loss of a loved one. McCrory passed away from breast cancer in April 2021. Her co-stars were midway through filming season six of the show.

“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,” Murphy revealed. “She was inspirational. People throw that word around, but she genuinely was.”

Talking about her in both past and present tenses, he added: “She cares about everybody. She’s really funny and really cool, and she had this real warmth. She really cared. It’s just… I still can’t believe she’s not here. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve never lost anyone like that — who was young and a friend. It was very confusing. But she was magnificent. She was an absolutely magnificent person.”

Last month, The National Theatre dedicated a poetry event to McCrory’s memory at which her husband of 14 years, actor Damian Lewis, said: “One person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen was Helen McCrory.”

McCrory was also remembered during the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special. As fans of the franchise will know all too well, McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy. Her on-screen husband and son, Lucius (Jason Isaacs) and Draco (Tom Felton), respectively, paid tribute to her.

“She taught me a lot… She had this ability, yeah, just to sort of show such empathy in her eyes. It was a real treat to work with her." Felton said, through tears.

Isaacs described McCrory as “the best actress” he’d ever seen in his life, adding that he felt “lucky to have worked with her.”