Helen McCrory death: Will ‘Peaky Blinders’ REPLACE or KILL Aunt Polly Gray? Fate of iconic character revealed

‘Peaky Blinders will never be the same... By Order of the Peaky Blinders, I say farewell,’ fans said

                            Helen McCrory death: Will ‘Peaky Blinders’ REPLACE or KILL Aunt Polly Gray? Fate of iconic character revealed
Helen McCrory as Polly Gray (BBC)

“When you’re dead already, you’re free.” Polly Gray's words from ‘Peaky Blinders’ will crush your heart when the devastating news of Helen McCrory's death hits your newsstand. Bubbling with flamboyance and a devil-may-care attitude, the matriarchal head of the Shelby clan was the boss lady in her free-spirited world! 

A cloudy afternoon on April 16 marked the dark day when Damian Lewis announced his beloved wife McCrory had died after losing her “heroic” cancer battle. “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,” he wrote. The tweet reached scores of her fans and left them shattered. 





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Helen McCrory as Polly Shelby (BBC)

Will Aunt Polly Gray die or be replaced?

McCrory could light up any room she walked into. She snuck a sweet spot in viewers' hearts with her roles in ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’. 

JK Rowling penned down her thoughts on the death of ‘Harry Potter’ actress and said: “I’m devastated to learn of the death of Helen McCrory, an extraordinary actress and a wonderful woman who’s left us far too soon. My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children. Simply heartbreaking news.” 




The biggest hole seems to be in the hearts of ‘Peaky Blinders’ fans who can't stop wondering what will happen to the soul of the show. Will Aunt Polly Gray be replaced or killed? Her entry in season five was perhaps one of those swashbuckling introductions you simply cannot forget. Seated in a wagon, she flicked off a cigarette butt with panache and put her foot down in a muddy slush, enough to tell you that she means business and is not afraid to get dirty.

But now, what happens to her? The show will never be the same... will it?

Helen McCrory as Polly Shelby (BBC)

What happened to Polly Gray from Season 1 to Season 5?

“I am a queen amongst the Romanies, and I too am unavailable...” Polly Gray's iconic dialogue will now be etched in minds forever.

Over the years, Polly's character has transformed by leaps and bounds. In season one, she advised Ada to adopt her child saying: “You know the words. You're a whore. Baby's a bastard. But there's no word for the man who doesn't come back.” But, it is she who told Ada in season five: “The baby is Black, a bastard and it is Birmingham, But she has golden eyes and you leave him with Aunt Polly every day to look after.”



A woman of substance and style, no one could stop her when she had made up her mind. She showed immense strength and resilience when Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) raped her in exchange for her son's freedom and served vengeance by shooting him dead. In season four, she led the women's march. From having an affair with a charming portrait artist Ruben Oliver to a sexual encounter with Romany Gypsy hitman-for-hire Aberama Gold, she was spirited and knew what she wanted.

“We are flying above the world now,” she told Ada in season five. Indeed! Polly Gray is now flying above the world, isn't she?

Helen McCrory as Polly Gray (BBC)

How will the character move forward?

There has been no official announcement from the makers on how to take the character forward but the Instagram handle carried a tribute for her. “Helen McCrory as Polly Gray
All our love and thoughts are with Helen’s family. Rest in peace,” the message read.

In another tribute, the official handle posted, “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. All our thoughts are with Damian and family.”




“Who will now play Aunt Polly Gray? She was so good at it, we are still the focking Peaky Blinders. RIP Helen McCrory,” one fan posted. Another said, “Peaky Blinders will never be the same. Polly Gray was an iconic character.” A third chimed in, “I always wanted to be a boss like Polly Gray. Tough-as-nails but the heart of the Shelby family and Peaky Blinders. Her character was written well but Helen McCrory made Polly come to life, she balanced tough with softness brilliantly. RIP to the brilliant Helen McCrory.”

One fan mournfully penned down, “Rest well Polly Gray. You were amazing. Thank you for sharing your talent. By Order of the Peaky Blinders, I say farewell.”









Born in 1968 in London, Helen McCrory was raised by Ann (née Morgans) and Iain McCrory. Eldest of three children, she studied at Queenswood School near Hatfield, Hertfordshire and spent a year in Italy. Once she stepped back in British soil, she took lessons at the Drama Centre in London. In 1990, she started her theatre career on stage and won many hearts with plays including ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘Medea’.

The role that got her closer to her fans was Narcissa Malfoy — the wife of Lucius Malfoy and Draco's mother — in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2’. She also played former Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie in the films ‘The Queen’ and ‘The Special Relationship’, and also gave voice to Stelmaria, Lord Asriel's snow leopard daemon in ‘His Dark Materials’.