Cillian Murphy Reveals The Hardest Part Of Shooting Peaky Blinders' Final Season

"Peaky Blinders" lead Cillian Murphy revealed the hardest part of shooting the sixth and final season of the show. In an interview with TVLine, Murphy opened up about the filming process of "Peaky Blinders," and how it felt "very strange" to be on set without co-star Helen McCrory, who died last April at age 52. McCrory played Aunt Polly, the matriarch of the Shelby family and treasurer of the Birmingham criminal gang, who was also a close advisor to Thomas throughout the series.

The Beating Heart of the Show

"Peaky Blinders" follows the exploits of the eponymous crime gang in the direct aftermath of World War I. The show sheds light on Birmingham's complex, arresting history, while fleshing out the legacy of individual gang members and the gap between their public and private spheres. One of the many triumphs of "Peaky Blinders" is its nuanced portrayal of Thomas Shelby, who is a flawed, violent criminal and a dedicated family man at the same, making it interesting for viewers to follow his chaotic, yet intensely human arc.

The final run of "Peaky Blinders" was set to film in the year 2020 itself, however, the pandemic resulted in a lengthy and considerable delay of the filming process. By the time "Peaky Blinders" was back for production, it became apparent that McCrory would not be able to participate as she had been dealing with breast cancer-related complications privately. Murphy, in an interview with Esquire, talks about how he felt about McCrory's absence from set by the time production for the show had resumed:

"We were just reeling throughout the whole thing. 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. The difficult thing to comprehend is that, if it wasn't for Covid, there would be a whole other version of this show with Helen in it. But she was so private and so f–king brave and courageous."

Murphy also opened up about dealing with the loss on a personal level:

"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."

"Peaky Blinders" screenwriter Steven Knight seems to be aiming for a sort of complex duality for Murphy's character in the final stretch of the show, making the decision to not force a redemption arc that is not well-earned. While Murphy himself did not offer details about the narrative of the final season, he referred to the bleak, somber mood of the storyline, calling it "dark as f***."

"Peaky Blinders" season 6 is expected to be released in February 2022 on BBC One.