Cillian Murphy has said that filming the sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders without his late co-star Helen McCrory has been ‘desperately sad’.
Paying tribute to Helen, Cillian, 45, who plays Tommy Shelby in the Birmingham-based BBC show – nephew to Helen’s Polly – revealed: ‘She was like the matriarch of Peaky Blinders, and I think my closest colleague on the show.’
He added: ‘She was without doubt one of the best actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.’
Tragic: Cillian Murphy, 45, has said that filming the sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders without his late co-star Helen McCrory has been ‘desperately sad’
Speaking to Today FM, Cillian went on: ‘But on top of that just an extraordinary human being. So it’s really really sad. And we’re all still dealing with it like everybody else, and we really miss her.’
The Irish actor also touched upon Helen’s fanbase, telling the radio station that the tragic circumstances are also difficult for her at-home admirers.
Cillian also said that scenes shot alongside Helen were always ‘his favourite’.
After Helen’s death was announced in April by her actor husband Damian Lewis, Cillian led the stars in paying tribute to the legendary actress saying that he was ‘broken-hearted’.
Tribute: Paying tribute to Helen, Cillian, who plays Tommy Shelby in the Birmingham-based BBC show – nephew to Helen’s Polly – revealed: ‘She was like the matriarch of Peaky Blinders’
In a touching tribute, Cillian said at the time: ‘I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend. Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.
‘She was also a gifted actor — fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.
‘It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years. I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.’
Heartbreaking: It was announced in April that the actress, who played the series’ matriarch Polly Gray, had tragically died aged 52 after a secret ‘heroic battle’ with cancer
Peaky Blinders showrunners also released a statement, saying: ‘Helen’s performance as Polly Gray was inspirational, joyous, transgressive, hilarious and incredibly moving.
‘As a person she was off-the-scale charismatic, and deeply caring. We feel so privileged to have worked with her over the last decade.’
They added: ‘All our thoughts and love are with Damian and family.’
Only recently, Cillian revealed how upsetting it had been to shoot the final scenes of Peaky Blinders without Helen. The BBC show recently wrapped series six.
The actor told Men’s Health: ‘We’re all still deeply, deeply saddened. I’m deeply saddened and still trying to get over it. It’s hard to think of the series without her.
‘She was so much a part of that and always my favourite storylines were the Polly/Tommy storylines.’
The star also confirmed the entire final season of Peaky Blinders would be dedicated to Helen.
‘Broken-hearted’: In a touching tribute, Cillian said at the time: ‘I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend. Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being’
Helen died aged 52 after a secret ‘heroic battle’ with cancer, her husband Damian revealed in April.
The Homeland star tweeted: ‘I’m heartbroken to announce that after a 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.
‘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.’
In May Peaky Blinders finished filming its sixth and final season in Cheshire.
The show’s director, Anthony Byrne, 45, took to Instagram to tell his followers that work on the BBC programme was ‘done & done & done’ as posed on set at Arley Hall.
Touching: Only recently, Cillian revealed how upsetting it had been to shoot the final scenes of Peaky Blinders without Helen. The BBC show recently wrapped series six and decorated the show’s clapperboard with a beautiful sketch of the late Helen (pictured in April)
Standing in the sunshine alongside his assistant director, Jon Midlane, and director of photography, Mathieu Plainfossé, the TV mogul clutched the show’s clapperboard as he said goodbye to the iconic series.
In the photo, the show’s clapperboard had been decorated with a beautiful sketch of the late Helen.
Arizona Mimi Eastwood, who is second assistant director, revealed that filming had taken place across 86 days with more than two years of preparation.
The sixth season of Peaky Blinders resumed filming in January after the show was forced to shut down set last March due to the coronavirus crisis.
Although this is the final season of the show, fans may not need to mourn just yet as the show’s screenwriter has hinted the story will continue in ‘another form’.
In a statement Steve Knight said: ‘Peaky is back and with a bang. After the enforced production delay due to the Covid pandemic, we find the family in extreme jeopardy and the stakes have never been higher.
‘We believe this will be the best series of all and are sure that our amazing fans will love it. While the TV series will be coming to an end, the story will continue in another form.’
‘Done & Done & Done’: In May, Peaky Blinders finished filming its sixth and final season in Cheshire, the show’s director, Anthony Byrne, 45, pictured centre, revealed