PEAKY BLINDERS creator Steven Knight has paid a warm tribute to Helen McCrory in the wake of her sad death.
McCrory passed away earlier this month at the age of just 52 following a private battle with cancer. A prolific actress on the stage and screen, to many McCrory will be best remembered as Polly Shelby on the hit BBC series.
News of her sudden passing sent shockwaves through the cast and crew of the crime drama, with Cillian Murphy among those to pay tribute to McCrory.
Eager to also pay his respects, Knight spoke to Radio Times about the incredible impact “Aunt Polly” had on the show and the legacy she leaves behind.
“Helen McCrory was both the sovereign and the maid, regal and rebellious in the same minute,” he said.
“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.”
Knight went on to reveal the origins of Aunt Polly’s character and how she was born out of his own experiences growing up.
He said: “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.”
Also known for her role in the Harry Potter films, McCrory’s death was confirmed in a statement issued by her husband and fellow actor Damien Lewis.
“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.”