Actress Geraldine McEwan has announced that she has decided to bow out of playing Agatha Christie’s super-sleuth Miss Marple.

Geraldine first appeared in Agatha Christie’s Marple in The Body In The Library in 2004 and has since starred in a total of 12 films, 10 of which have already been shown on ITV1.

Geraldine was the sixth actress to play the iconic character on screen, following in the footsteps of Gracie Fields, Margaret Rutherford, Angela Lansbury, Helen Hayes and Joan Hickson.

The actress proved a hit with viewers as Miss Marple, with the latest mysteries watched by an average of 10 million people. 

Geraldine said: “It is terribly disappointing to have to pass the baton on, but it has been a marvellous experience to inhabit this role for the last few years.

“I am sure that my successor, whomever she may be, will thoroughly enjoy her time with the production team – and with the extraordinarily talented group of writers and actors that they come up with for each series.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to work on Miss Marple since 2003, and I leave with fond memories.”

Laura Mackie, ITV’s Director of Drama, said: “Geraldine McEwan’s interpretation of the Miss Marple character has been a key part in the enormous success and popularity that the series has enjoyed over the past few years.

“She has introduced Miss Marple to an entirely new audience, and we are grateful for the way she has dealt with the enormously demanding schedule.”

The search for the new Miss Marple begins next week.