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Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory has died aged 52

Helen McCrory
(Image credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Ron)

Helen McCrory was hugely popular for her role in Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter star Helen McCrory has died of cancer aged 52.

The star’s actor husband, Damian Lewis, revealed the news on Twitter.

He wrote: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from family and friends.

“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and we 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.”

Helen is perhaps best known to TV fans for her role as Aunt Polly in the hit series Peaky Blinders, in which she starred alongside Cillian Murphy.

Talking about Aunt Polly, she once said: “She really is the brains with Tommy behind the family and you see the difference of how to rule. One from a male point of view, which is much more physical and violent and threatening, and one from a female point of view, which is just as physically violent and threatening, but is also psychological."

But Peaky Blinders is just one of a huge number of parts Helen enjoyed over the years. Last year she starred alongside Hugh Laurie in the BBC1 drama Roadkill, in which she played the Prime Minister.

Her long list of credits also include Doctor Who, Penny Dreadful, and Fearless.

Meanwhile, film fans know her best as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. Helen once shared with us that people never recognised her for her part in Harry Potter.

She said: “I never, ever get recognised by Harry Potter fans. I look very different from my character – they age me, and I have the blonde hair. Even at the premiere – people don’t connect me with her.”

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!