Peaky Blinders star Sophie Rundle details 'devastating' tribute to Helen McCrory in new series

The Harry Potter actress sadly died in April last year

Peaky Blinders star Sophie Rundle has opened up about what it was like filming a tribute to Helen McCrory in the upcoming sixth and final season of the BBC show. 

MORE: Everything you need to know about Peaky Blinders season six

The late actress, who played Aunt Polly Gray in the drama, sadly passed away in April last year following a private illness with cancer, which left her unable to film for the latest series. 

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Sophie, who plays Ada Shelby, revealed that emotions were running high while the cast were filming the tribute to the Harry Potter actress. "It was a devastating thing for all of us," she said in an interview with RadioTimes.com. "We'd all been in that same boat for ten years and for her to not be there, it all felt off-kilter and wrong. So in the tribute, that's all real, that emotion. It really was a moment to think about her and what she had been."

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She continued: "And this show wouldn't have been what it is without her, I really believe that. I really believe that she was fundamental to making Peaky what it is and elevating it to be more than just the script, so it was a huge loss and it was just incredibly sad. I don't know if that sounds oversimplified to say, but it was just incredibly sad and we missed her."

Helen sadly died in April last year

The show's creator Steven Knight revealed how he approached Helen's absence in the upcoming series following her tragic death in April last year. 

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Steven explained how he had to amend the script amid Helen's health battle. "To begin with, Polly was in the series and then incrementally bit by bit, it became apparent that there was less and less she would be able to do," he said. "And so in the end, we'd reached a point where we knew that she couldn't be in it at all.

Sophie Rundle plays Ada Shelby

"And then you have to first of all deal with the consequences in terms of the story, taking a moment to deal with the loss of the character, but then knowing that that has a reflection in the real world with the loss of the person. So it was trying to balance all of that, and I think we've done it right."

Peaky Blinders season six premieres on Sunday 27 February at 9pm on BBC One.

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