Helen McCrory has said she had to look away from the “disgustingly violent” first episode of the new series of Peaky Blinders.
The actress, who stars as Polly Gray, aunt of Cillian Murphy’s character Tommy Shelby, was offered a sneak peak of the fifth series during a screening in Birmingham.
She warned fans of the BBC One gangster epic, which jumps forward in time to a period of unrest in British politics, to expect “disturbing” and “disgusting” scenes.
But the veteran stage and screen actress, 50, said the show’s portrayal of violence proves such savagery “should be horrifying”.
She also told PA she is not worried the show could normalise violence among young people.
She said: “No, I think the reason that… It is very violent and it’s really horrible and you should look away.
“I’ve only seen episode one, and there’s a whole bit… We saw the screening in Birmingham, for fans who managed to get lottery tickets.
“I look away from the screen. I as Helen can’t watch it. I think it’s disgusting, gratuitous violence. It is… no, not gratuitous – disgustingly violent.
“But it is. And it should be. I think it’s much more disturbing than somebody slashes somebody’s face or somebody shoots somebody and it’s all just the end of it.”
McCrory, who is married to Homeland star Damian Lewis, said Peaky Blinders also shows violent people cannot escape the consequences of their actions.
She said: “It should be horrifying and you should have the people who are responsible for the violence unable to self-medicate or having mental health problems, or all the things that do happen to people, if you kill other people.
“Because it is not a natural state of affairs. And anybody who looks at the violence of Peaky Blinders and thinks: ‘That exactly is what I want to do’. I mean, sick.”
Peaky Blinders returns to BBC One from Sunday August 25.