Tragically passed away last year as a result of cancer, Helen McCrory could not be present in season 6 of Peaky Blinders, available today on Netflix. But the team managed to pay tribute to him in these final episodes.
Warning, spoilers. The following paragraphs reveal plot elements from Season 6 of Peaky Blinders.
The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders has just arrived on Netflix and fans will have the pleasure of reuniting with the Shelby family. Unfortunately, a member is missing for this final chapter of the British series: Helen McCrory, the interpreter of Aunt Polly, who died in April 2021 from cancer.
If the Peaky Blinders team paid an elegant tribute to the actress during filming with a custom clapperboard with a drawing of Helen McCrory on it, they also put it in the spotlight in the first episode of season 6 , which is dedicated to him.
It took creator Steven Knight to rework the script for the final burst of episodes of Peaky Blinders to incorporate the disappearance of the actress, who hadn’t been able to shoot any scenes at the time of filming. Thus, Aunt Polly became one of the collateral victims of the attempted assassination of fascist politician Oswald Mosley.
It’s Captain Swing, who foiled the assassination attempt that tipped off Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and returned the bodies of Polly, Aberama and Barney to him. Later, the whole Shelby family is gathered for Polly’s funeral, according to the traditions of the gypsy community.
This event will put his son Michael in such a state of rage that he will want to take revenge on Tommy, whom he believes responsible, and kill him. Polly’s death will affect all the members of the family, who will each sink in their own way and will have to face their demons and different problems.
Polly’s soul hangs over Season 6 of Peaky Blinders
Addressing Helen McCrory’s absence has been an important topic for showrunner Steven Knight. He thus explained to RadioTimes that the “loss of a human being, the loss of Helen was the real tragedy. The loss of the character is infinitesimal compared to the loss of the human being. And yet, we had to deal with that.”
Steven Knight had high hopes of seeing Aunt Polly in season 6, which began filming in January 2021, but he had to make up his mind as he went along: “At first Polly was in the season and then little by little it became clear that she would be less and less able to do. And so by the end we had reached a point where we knew she couldn’t not be in it at all.
And then you have to deal with the consequences first in terms of the story, taking a moment to deal with the loss of the character, but then knowing that it has a reflection in the real world with the loss of the person. So, we had to try to balance all that, and I think we did it well.”
Although Polly is not physically there, the showrunner has been able to make her spirit soar throughout the season, thanks in particular to her voice, as Cillian Murphy explains to RadioTimes :
“It’s a huge loss, it’s hard to understand. Because she was the matriarch. As a character, but also as a person. But she is still present in season 6. Steven managed to keep it very, very present, which I think is a brilliant tribute to Helen.”
Season 6 of Peaky Blinders is available on Netflix.