Peaky Blinders' send-off for Helen McCrory draws 3.8m viewers

The hit crime drama returned on Sunday night.

The return of Peaky Blinders and its send-off for late star Helen McCrory gave the show its biggest series launch to date, the BBC has said.

The hit crime drama returned for its sixth and final series on Sunday night, less than a year after the death of McCrory, who starred as Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray.

She died from cancer aged 52 last April.

The episode drew 3.8 million viewers in the overnight ratings, beating 3.7 million for the series five launch in August 2019.

Sunday night’s episode addressed McCrory’s absence by writing her death into the plotline.

Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, could be seen coming to terms with the consequences of his actions as a cart of dead bodies was delivered to his door.

After he opened the body bags while crying, the scene cut to a portrait of Polly, implying she was among the victims.

While watching the bodies burn in a memorial service, Polly’s son Michael, played by Finn Cole, said: “Mum, it was the ambitions and strategies of one man that caused this.

“And I swear on the devil of the almighty God, no matter what it takes, no matter how many lies I have to tell, I will take revenge on Tommy Shelby.”

The rest of the episode saw the various rivalries within the Shelby family come to the fore as they came to terms with Polly’s death.

At the end of the programme, a tribute appeared on screen saying: “Dedicated to the memory of Helen McCrory OBE ‘Polly Gray’.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access