Polly Gray was the cousin of Tommy Shelby, the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang in early 20th century Birmingham, England. Polly was played by actress Helen McCrory, and she starred alongside Cillian Murphy in the BBC hit show, which started its third season on September 2nd, 2016. This portrait of Helen McCrory as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders looks at her character’s personality and motivations throughout the series so far. A Portrait of Helen McCrory as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders
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Her Real Life
Actress Helen McCrory, best known for her roles in Silk, Harry Potter and Kingsman: The Secret Service, has been earning praise for her role as Elizabeth Polly Gray in BBC’s hit show Peaky Blinders. A series about a crime family during England’s post-World War I era, fans have been quick to compare and contrast her to her fictional counterpart. Born on July 28th 1966 in Belfast, Northern Ireland to a Northern Irish mother who worked as a nurse and Scottish father who was an architect. She spent most of her early years between Belfast and Glasgow until moving permanently to London with her family at age 11 where she attended St Marylebone Comprehensive School and gained an interest in acting after being cast into several school plays.
Her Character’s Backstory
The show introduces us to Elizabeth Polly Gray, (Helen McCrory) daughter of mobster Thomas Tommy Shelby, Sr. (Cillian Murphy), and loving wife to Michael Murray, Jr. (Finn Cole). From an early age, Polly was exposed to both her father’s criminal lifestyle and his violent nature; she has been known to defend herself from a would-be rapist when she was just fifteen years old and was forced into prostitution by her father when she refused marriage to rival gangster Alfie Solomons.
She refused her father’s will out of love for Michael Murray but later found that he had also been attacked by Thomas Shelby and permanently blinded.
Helen McCrory is an English actress and voice artist who has worked extensively on stage, television, and film. Her portrayal of Lady Ann Boleyn in Showtime’s The Tudors earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. She also appeared opposite Ralph Fiennes as Araminta Meliflua in director Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009). For her performance as Stella Kowalski alongside Gary Oldman as Stanley Kowalski in 2011’s acclaimed revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, she won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress.
Biggest Accomplishment to Date
The biggest accomplishment to date is her role on Peaky Blinders as Elizabeth Polly Gray, née Shelby. She plays a strong female lead and manages to hold her own alongside Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby. Many other shows have attempted to create a show with a woman of substance, but very few succeed because these women are often portrayed as shrews or stereotypes of femininity. This is what makes Ms. McCrory stand out in such an outstanding manner – because she plays a woman who is not only confident, strong and fearless but one who can also be seen enjoying herself while doing so.
In 2013, McCrory was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Peaky Blinders. At The 2014 British Academy Television Awards she won Most Popular TV Drama Actress. In 2015, she won a National Television Award and a Gold Medal at the Evening Standard British Film Awards for Best Actress. In 2016, she was nominated for another BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress. Also in 2016, at The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards,
McCrory was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and she won two awards – Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special For her role as Mrs.
From the series creator
Helen McCrory, OBE, is an English actress. She won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her role as Ruth Evershed in The Reckoning (2013), and has also been nominated three times for Best Supporting Actress by the BAFTA Film Awards, winning once for I’m Not There (2007). On stage she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress and was nominated again for her work in Private Lives. A six-time Olivier Award nominee overall, she has also received nominations at the Tony Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globe Awards. Her performance in The Deep Blue Sea earned her further Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
The role of Polly
Being cast as __________in BBC’s Peaky Blinders. Helen McCrory, known best for her role on AMC’s The Walking Dead and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows has started work on her newest project which is due to air later in 2015, a TV series titled Peaky Blinders. This dramatic period piece is about a man named Thomas Shelby who becomes an outcast to his family after he kills his brother at boxing match and faces many challenges throughout his life such as; gang wars, loss of family members, loss of loved ones but remains strong throughout it all and was able to keep their family name together. For someone like Ms.
The character’s journey throughout the series
Helen McCrory has been recognized for her performance in Peaky Blinders with a Special Award by The Royal Television Society for Best Actress 2016, Best Actress at The Broadcast Awards, 2016, Best Supporting Actress from The British Academy Television Awards, 2016 and TV Choice Award: Drama Performance (Female) – Winner, 2016. She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress – Series/Mini-Series/Television Film at Primetime Emmy Awards. A graduate of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In search for love…
In Season 1, we are introduced to two sisters: Polly and Ada. In Episode 2 (No One Here Can Love or Understand Me), it is revealed that family friend John Shelby has eyes for Ada, but she is already taken. Later on, when both men find out about each other’s involvement with Ada, there is a violent confrontation between them on a boat. Ultimately, John wins by shooting and killing her husband. Still grief-stricken over what happened between her and John, she agrees to marry Major Campbell after only knowing him briefly while John becomes engaged to someone else. It turns out that it was not actually love at first sight but rather attraction at first sight and then later followed by infatuation that helped drive these relationships forward so quickly.
How is Polly related to Thomas Shelby?
Helen McCrory plays Elizabeth Polly Gray, née Shelby on BBC’s Peaky Blinders. Her character is a strong one, though Polly was originally introduced to viewers as a submissive wife to gang leader Thomas Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy). She seems content with her role, but anyone who has seen season 2 knows there’s much more to her than meets the eye. How do you relate that to Helen McCrory herself? There may be no better actress out there for portraying such multi-faceted roles—like, for example, Sally Lockhart or Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter—than Scottish-born Helen McCrory.
Was Polly Gray a real person?
Though real historical figures play important roles in Peaky Blinders, most characters are fictionalized. While there were two women named Elizabeth Polly Gray living during that time period, they don’t seem to be connected with one another, and one of them didn’t marry a man named Arthur Shelby. However, it is possible that Arthur Shelby met both women before marrying his wife and naming his firstborn daughter after her. Both women were reportedly arrested for prostitution around that time. One was eventually deported to Australia; she may have been innocent—the records don’t indicate whether she was ever charged or tried for any crimes.
Is Polly Gray related to Tommy Shelby?
There are a lot of rumors around about who and what Tommy’s family is. In season 1, episode 5 we learn that Polly was born Elizabeth Gray, née Shelby. That tells us she’s related to Tommy but it doesn’t tell us how. So here are 4 things you should know about their relationship
How was Helen McCrory written out of Peaky Blinders?
Though her time on Peaky Blinders may have been brief, both fans and critics alike were drawn to Helen McCrory’s character, Elizabeth Polly Gray. The actress has a certain screen presence that allows her to stand out even amidst an ensemble cast. As such, it was a tragedy when she died in Season 3 of Peaky Blinders. How was she written out?