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Helen McCrory: I’ve been spontaneously bursting into tears amid pandemic

The actress said she has found it surreal and overwhelming.


Helen McCrory (Ian West/PA)

Helen McCrory (Ian West/PA)

Helen McCrory (Ian West/PA)

Helen McCrory has said she has found the coronavirus pandemic “overwhelming” and has had moments of spontaneously bursting into tears.

The Peaky Blinders actress said she has found the situation “surreal” and “fantastical”.

Appearing on the BBC Coronavirus Newscast podcast alongside her actor husband, Damian Lewis, she said: “We’re all doing our bit and not going out. But you feel responsible, you know you’re watching the news, we’re all reading it, we’re all finding out what’s happening over the world, and it’s so overwhelming.

“It sort of seems, as Damian says, it’s fantastical.

“You think you’re absolutely fine, you’re pottering along, you’re coping with it. Cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking. And you suddenly burst into tears.

“And it’s this fear, and it’s the vulnerability coming out, and then you pick yourself up and you go along again as if nothing happened. And it’s very surreal.”

Billions star Lewis said: “There have been movie scripts like this, and there have been novels written like this.

“Thirty years ago they seemed like sci-fi and they were sort of dystopian, futuristic novels. But within the last 10 years, everybody has known.

“This is what is slightly frustrating and you don’t want to throw stones at a time like this, but everyone in that sector must have known, must have been aware that the next great global threat was going to come from a pandemic, a virus spread through air travel around the world simultaneously. In fact, many experts have been saying that.”

The couple have been working with restaurant Leon on the #FeedNHS campaign in a bid to provide NHS workers with meals during the crisis.

McCrory said: “So we decided that we wanted to try and get food to these people who were working such long hours and weren’t able to.

“So we phoned a man called John Vincent, who’s at Leon, and he was already interested, and already trying to help the NHS.

“And together we started a campaign to try and raise £1 million to feed NHS, which the front line was London initially, and as we’re getting closer to that million, we’re taking that out nationwide.”

– The Coronavirus Newscast is available to download on BBC Sounds. It also appears as a weekly TV programme on BBC One on Thursdays at 11.45pm.

PA Media