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McKenzie to take on Miss Marple role for ITV

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Julia McKenzie is to replace Geraldine McEwan as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple in the popular ITV drama series.

She becomes the seventh actress to tackle the part of the iconic amateur detective, following in the footsteps of Gracie Fields, Margaret Rutherford and Angela Lansbury, and will take up the role later this month when she begins filming an adaptation of A Pocketful of Rye.

McEwan announced she was to retire in January after three series of playing the show’s title role.

McKenzie, who has appeared in numerous television and stage shows, including BBC1’s Cranford and the National Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd, said she was “slightly daunted” by the “enormous responsibility that comes with taking on such an iconic role”.

She added: “Just about everybody in the world knows about Miss Marple and has an opinion of what she should be like, so I’m under no illusions about the size of the task ahead.”

ITV director of drama Laura Mackie said McKenzie will bring “another dimension to a classic character”, while Christie’s grandson Mathew Prichard said McKenzie will play Miss Marple with “exactly the right balance of sympathy and intelligence”.

Full casting for A Pocketful of Rye will be announced later this month.