Gillian Anderson to play Thatcher in fourth series of The Crown

Gillian Anderson has said she is "falling in love" with the "complicated and controversial" character of Margaret Thatcher in The Crown.

It has long been rumoured that the X-Files star would play the former prime minister in the Netflix series.

It has now been confirmed that she will join the cast for the fourth series, which is currently in production.

Anderson said in a statement: "I am so excited to be joining the cast and crew of The Crown and to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman.

"Thatcher was undoubtedly formidable but I am relishing exploring beneath the surface and, dare I say, falling in love with the icon who, whether loved or despise, defined an era."

It has previously been confirmed that Emma Corrin will also join the cast for the fourth series, to play Lady Diana Spencer.

The imminent third series of the big-budget show will see a cast change, as Olivia Colman takes over the role of the Queen from Claire Foy, and Helena Bonham Carter replaces Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.

Tobias Menzies will take over playing Prince Philip from Matt Smith, while Josh O'Connor will play Prince Charles and Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell will play Camilla Shand.

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Actress Gillian Anderson (R) shows a first edition of a Charles Dickens book, with the author's annotations, to Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a tour of the Dickens Museum in London February 7, 2012. Tuesday marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS ANNIVERSARY)
Stars David Duchovny (L) and Gillian Anderson (C) pose with X-Files creator Chris Carter, after the show was named Best Television Drama at the 55th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, January 18. The Golden Globe Awards, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, honor excellence in film and television.
Gillian Anderson, star of " The X-Files," poses as she arrives at a party to celebrate the show's 100th episode, in Santa Monica, November 1. The fictional series, which airs on the Fox television network, features government agents who investigate paranormal events.The 100th episode airs November 9 in the United States.
Stars of "The X-Files" television series David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are shown on stage as they act as presenters, during the 55th annual Golden Globe Awards telecast live on the NBC network in Beverly Hills, January 18. The awards, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, honor excellence in film and television.
Actress Gillian Anderson, star of the the television drama series "The X-Files," arrives at the 50th Annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 13. **DIGITAL IMAGE**
Actresses Sharon Stone (R) and Gillian Anderson pose for photographers at the premiere of their new film, "The Mighty," October 7 in Los Angeles. The film, which opens in the United States October 9, is the story of two boys who discover that the quest for friendship is the noblest cause of all. FSP/HB/SB
Actors Gillian Anderson and Dennis Quaid, two of the stars of the poignant and funny drama film " Playing By Heart" pose together at the film's premiere December 11 in Los Angeles. The film also stars Gena Rowlands and Sean Connery, who portray a couple whose long and comfortable marriage is suddenly threatened by surprises from within and without. FSP/ME
Actress Gillian Anderson arrives at the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards January 21, 2001 in Beverly Hills.
Cast Member Gillian Anderson, who portrays Agent Dana Scully in the television series "The X-Files," poses upon arriving during the show's finale wrap party at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, California, April 27, 2002. Fox will air a two-hour send-off to its sci-fi thriller on May 19, with former series star David Duchovny returning as special agent Fox Mulder. Producers promise to tie up most of the nine-year-old show's mythological loose ends, maybe finally revealing the truth that may or may not be "out there." REUTERS/Jim Ruymen JR/HB
U.S. actress Gillian Anderson arrives for the annual Empire magazine film awards at the Dorchester Hotel, central London, February 4, 2004. REUTERS/Toby Melville PP04020023 TM/MD
- PHOTO TAKEN 12FEB05 - Actress Gillian Anderson arrives at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London February 12, 2005.
Cast members David Duchovny (R) and Gillian Anderson attend the movie premiere of "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California July 23, 2008. The movie opens in the U.S. on July 25. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
U.S. actors David Duchovny (L) and Gillian Anderson arrive for the British premiere of the film "The X-Files:I Want to Believe" in Leicester Square, London July 30, 2008. REUTERS/Stephen Hird (BRITAIN)
Cast member Gillian Anderson speaks as co-star Ethan Hawke watches, during the encore session for "Moby Dick" at the Summer Television Critics Association Cable Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Actress Gillian Anderson arrives for the UK premiere of Johnny English Reborn, at the Empire Leicester Square in central London October 2, 2011 REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)
Cast members Rowan Atkinson and Gillian Anderson talk at the world premiere of "Johnny English Reborn" in Sydney September 4, 2011. "Johnny English Reborn" will be in cinemas on September 15. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Actress Gillian Anderson poses on the red carpet during the UK premiere of the movie "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" in London December 13, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE SOCIETY)
Actors Clemence Poesy (L) Michael Caine and Gillian Anderson (R) pose on the film set of 'Mr. Morgan's Last Love' by director Sandra Nettelbeck in Cologne, December 16, 2011. The film, about the relationship between a retired and widowed American philosophy professor and a young Parisian woman, is adapted from the novel 'La Douceur Assassine' by Franoise Dorner. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT)
Actress Gillian Anderson from the series "Crisis" takes part in a panel discussion at the NBC portion of the 2014 Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California, January 19, 2014. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Cast members Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny pose at a premiere for "The X-Files" at California Science Center in Los Angeles, California January 12, 2016. A 6-episode series premieres on January 24. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Actress Gillian Anderson arrives at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Actress Gillian Anderson and actor Hugh Bonneville pose during a photocall to promote the movie 'Viceroy' s House' at the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
Actress Gillian Anderson attends a news conference to promote the movie 'Viceroy' s House' at the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
Actress Gillian Anderson arrives for the screening of the movie 'Viceroy' s House' at the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
69th Primetime Emmy Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 17/09/2017 - Gillian Anderson. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Actor Gillian Anderson poses at the BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party in Los Angeles, California, January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
75th Golden Globe Awards – Arrivals – Beverly Hills, California, U.S., 07/01/2018 – Actress Gillian Anderson. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Actor Gillian Anderson poses on her star after it was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Actor Gillian Anderson poses for photographs outside the Foreign Office before handing in a petition calling for a large part of Antartica to be protected, in London, Britain, October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
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