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Belfast actor Packy Lee 'devastated' after filming halted on Peaky Blinders

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Belfast actor Packy Lee (centre) during a scene in Peaky Blinders with Cillian Murphy

Belfast actor Packy Lee (centre) during a scene in Peaky Blinders with Cillian Murphy

Packy Lee

Packy Lee

Belfast actor Packy Lee (centre) during a scene in Peaky Blinders with Cillian Murphy

Belfast's Peaky Blinders star Packy Lee has revealed that the coronavirus pandemic halted filming on a new season of the hit TV series just 24 hours before the cameras were due to roll.

Packy, who plays Johnny Dogs in the award-winning crime blockbuster, said he had learnt all his lines and was devastated when producers were forced to pull the plug.

But he said that protecting lives in the current Covid-19 crisis was more important than a TV show.

Speaking on Sky's Soccer AM programme Packy, who is a massive Liverpool supporter, said all the cast and crew had gathered in England ready to start work on season six of Peaky Blinders

He said: "We were one day out. We had all the set, costumes and cast in place. Six or seven months' work had already been done and we were about to go the next day. But lockdown came in and we had no choice but to cancel and all for a good reason.

"It's helping the NHS to save lives and at the end of the day TV is TV and football is football. This is something bigger than all of them."

After the production was abandoned, Packy returned to his home in Belfast and it was from his living room that he appeared on Soccer AM via a video link.

Packy said he hoped that once everyone had come through coronavirus filming would resume again.

Packy added that he had seen the full script for the new series but told the Soccer AM audience that he could not give them any details about the storyline.

He did, however, say that new big name actors had signed up to join the cast which has already included stars like Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Adrien Brody.

One of the new recruits was Liverpool actor Stephen Graham, who starred in the Belfast-made drama Line of Duty.

Packy, who was originally due to appear in just one episode of Peaky Blinders, recalled on Soccer AM how he once showed his Liverpool idol Virgil van Dijk around the set of the show and the defender later hosted him and his family at Anfield.

Meanwhile, Filming of the third series of Derry Girls has been put on hold because of the pandemic.

Jamie Lee O'Donnell, who plays Michelle in the Channel 4 comedy, said the stars were waiting to hear more about other projects since learning of the delay.

"We were due to film the third season next week, but that's obviously been put off," she added.

The 33-year-old was shooting a film called Redeeming Love in South Africa before lockdown and was glad to get home to Londonderry.

Speaking to the Tea With Me podcast with Shane Todd, she said: "I'm in Derry at the moment. I'm back home because my sister had a baby a few weeks ago - she had a wee girl.

"I haven't physically seen her properly, but she came past in the car with the window up, which was a bit strange, but it's nice to be home and just nice to be somewhere familiar with all the madness that's going on."

"I was filming in South Africa about a week before the lockdown actually happened. It was all sort of talked about, but there wasn't any big measures in place.

"It was still sort of like, 'Is this going to spread? Is this that big of a deal?'

" I got home, then five days later the lockdown happened. I think they got it (the film) done, lucky enough."

Jamie's film is an adaptation of a novel by Francine Rivers set during the 1850s gold rush in California and inspired by the Book of Hosea from the Bible.

Belfast Telegraph