Peaky Blinders fans in tears as first episode of season 6 dedicated to Helen McCrory
*Spoiler alert - don't read if you haven't watched the new episode of Peaky Blinders!*
"A perfect tribute."
Peaky Blinders returned for its highly-anticipated sixth and final season on Sunday evening, which was dedicated to the late Helen McCrory.
The actress, who starred as Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray in the show, tragically passed away last year from cancer, aged 52.
The hit crime series addressed Helen's absence by writing her death into the plot.
In an intense new episode, the story picks up right where series five left off, with Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) coming to terms with the dark consequences of his actions.
Amongst a crate of body bags, he discovers his aunt's body and begins to cry. The scene cuts to a portrait of Polly.
In a haunting memorial scene, where her body is burned, we see the grief and reaction to loss from every member of the gang.
Watching the bodies go up in flames, Polly’s son Michael (Finn Cole) says:
"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.”
At the end of the programme, a tribute to McCrory was shown on the screen reading: “Dedicated to the memory of Helen McCrory OBE ‘Polly Gray’.”
Fans took to social media to praise the show for its brilliant handling of her death.
"The passing of Polly Gray couldn't have been scripted any better, a perfect tribute to the great Helen McCrory. It takes an incredible cast to have the courage to act out those scenes and they did her proud. Brilliant first episode," one fan said.
"Wow. A wonderful and heart-wrenching tribute to the late, great Helen McCrory in the opener to the new series of Peaky Blinders," another person wrote.
"Five minutes in and crying like a mess...RIP Helen McCrory," a third added.