The Irish actor says that if it wasn't for Covid, we would be seeing a completely different final season of the BBC show.

'Peaky Blinders' lead Cillian Murphy has opened up about how he and the cast of the BBC series felt shooting the new series following the unexpected death of their beloved co-star Helen McCrory.

McCrory privately chose not to return to the final series following her diagnosis of breast cancer. After a short battle, she sadly passed away in April of last year at the age of 52.

Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory were very close on the set of 'Peaky Blinders', stemming from the fact that their on-screen characters were so closely involved since season one; McCrory was the Aunt Polly to Murphy's Tommy Shelby.

Sitting down with Esquire for an in-depth interview about the forthcoming final season of the gritty drama, the Cork-born actor opened up about what it was like to film the series without the fan-favourite star. The Covid cloud also still hung over the production, which picked up on location in Manchester in March of last year.

He said: "It wasn’t a very pleasant shooting experience for loads of different reasons. 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 fucking brave and courageous."

"She was inspirational" he continues. "People throw that word around, but she genuinely was. Her values, the way she dealt with her kids and Damian [Lewis, McCrory’s husband]."

"She cares about everybody. She’s really funny and really cool, and she had this real warmth. She really cared. It’s just… 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."

Murphy previously said that McCrory's character Polly will be "present" in the forthcoming season as a tribute to the late actor.

In terms of what fans of the series can expect for its final few episodes, Murphy said the whole thing is "dark as fuck".

'Peaky Blinders' season six will be released on BBC One this spring.

Via Esquire.