'Peaky Blinders' has dedicated the first episode of its final series to the late actress Helen McCrory.

An episode of 'Peaky Blinders' was dedicated to Helen McCrory

An episode of 'Peaky Blinders' was dedicated to Helen McCrory

The actress started as the Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray in the BBC One drama but tragically passed away from cancer last year aged 52.

Gray's absence was written into the plotline of the opening episode of the latest series, with news of her off-screen passing having a significant impact on the gangster family.

The closing credits included a tribute to "the memory of Helen McCrory OBE".

The show's creator Steven Knight had described Helen's loss as a tragedy at the series' premiere in Birmingham last week.

He said: "After she'd gone we knew she wanted this thing to continue and we hope we have continued in a respectful and appropriate way and moving forward she will always be a part of Peaky."

Cillian Murphy, who plays the lead character Tommy Shelby, recently insisted that the presence of Helen's character is still "very much felt" during the series.

The 45-year-old actor said: "I think the whole series is really in tribute to her and to honour her. Her presence and her character’s presence are very much still felt in the series, and it is very much part of Tommy’s journey in the season.

"It’ll be different without her, you know. It simply won’t be the same. I’ve spoken about how phenomenal she was as an actress and as a person and it is an enormous loss to the whole acting community and not just for our show.

"My thoughts are always with Damian [Lewis] and her kids. I just hope that the show will live up to her memory and our memory of her."