“You know, that kind of cultural cringe that often happens with the English not writing songs about Huddersfield or Bolton or Birmingham, whereas in America you get songs about pretty much every big city.
“I wasn’t embarrassed to say it’s a great human drama unfolding in Birmingham.”
Explain how a West Midlands petty gangster drama had become a global hit, Knight said, “I just want to do justice to the lives of working-class people who come to live, in their own eyes — and in reality — big, bold, glamorous lives.
“He’s had a huge following in Rio de Janeiro and all over South America, Russia and China. It’s quite remarkable, and I think it’s because we took the experiences of everyday people and the made them as big, alive and wild as they really are.
This series will be the last, but Knight said he considers it “the end of the beginning” as a movie and various spinoffs are in the works.
Mourning the absence of Helen McCrory
Cast and viewers alike will mourn the absence of Helen McCrory, who played the show’s matriarch, Polly. She died last April at the age of 52.
Knight said everyone involved with the show was determined to make the series finale despite McCrory’s death. “I have no doubt she would have wanted this thing to continue,” he said.
Natasha O’Keeffe, who appears on the show as Lizzie Shelby, said: “Her death really shocked us all. There were a few moments of happiness and laughter on set, but it was a very sad and surreal moment.
“It’s hard to fathom that if filming hadn’t been delayed by Covid, Helen would have been in series six. Aunt Polly was supposed to be part of that story.