Reece Shearsmith reflects on working with late Helen McCrory for Inside No. 9

British actor Reece Shearsmith has said he “very fondly” remembers working with the late Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory on BBC series Inside No. 9.

McCrory, who died in 2021 aged 52 following a battle with cancer, appeared in the first series of the comedy-drama, which will be returning to screens for its ninth and final season on May 8.

Shearsmith, 54, who created the dark anthology series alongside Steve Pemberton, said: “I remember very fondly working with Helen McCrory.

Peaky Blinders World Premiere – Birmingham
Helen McCrory attending the Peaky Blinders Series Five World Premiere (Jacob King/PA)

“Or she found it exciting that she was asked to do this part where I think she wouldn’t normally get asked. And that was great working with her, she was magnificent in that.”

McCrory and Shearsmith played eccentric twins Hector and Tabitha in episode The Harrowing which contained elements of classic gothic horror.

The actress was best known for playing Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray in BBC series Peaky Blinders and for her roles in the Harry Potter movies and 2012 James Bond film Skyfall.

Reflecting on what he will miss now the show has ended, Shearsmith said: “Probably it’s the annual brunch, having to meet up, talk and sit in a room and think of something.

Sky Arts Awards
Inside No. 9’s Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (Ian West/PA)

“And even if it’s the night before and we’ve already met up, there’s always something to laugh about the next day.

“So, we do laugh a lot in and around the sort of torture of trying to come up with the stories.

“So, I think just the writing and the enforced meetings that we have to have, where I meet my best friend, and we sit and laugh around this thing that we laughingly call work.”

Inside No. 9
Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton in the latest BBC series of Inside No. 9 (James Stack/BBC/PA)

The show has received critical acclaim since the release of its first series in 2014 and in 2021 it won best scripted comedy at the TV Bafta awards.

It was recently announced that the dark anthology series will be turned into a West End show.

Shearsmith and Pemberton, 56, who are also known for starring in sitcom The League Of Gentlemen, will perform in the play Stage/Fright, which they are currently in the process of writing.

Inside No. 9 returns at 10pm on May 8 on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

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