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Anna Friel impressed critics and viewers alike in the first episode of ITV’s new thriller Marcella this week, so news that she’s committed to two series will be well received.

ITV bosses were pleased to see Marcella open with an impressive audience of 6.5m on Monday night, but will wait to see how the eight-part series fares over its entire run before making a decision on a second series

They’re taking no chances with their star, however, and have already tied Anna down to return if Marcella is a hit.

“I’ve signed for two seasons,” revealed Anna. “Marcella is interesting and the great thing about television is that you get to play someone for a long time and really embrace the character. TV is where I started and I owe it a lot, so it’s great to be back.”

In Monday’s first episode viewers saw Marcella deal with the heartbreak of her failed marriage by returning to the career she had left nearly 10 years before. 

The last case Marcella worked on, back in 2005, was never solved and when the same killer seems to have reappeared, Marcella is desperate to catch him. But there is more to her character than initally meets the eye.

“As the series goes on, people will begin to wonder ‘How dark is this woman?'” said Anna.

Despite the promising opening episode, Anna revealed that she had concerns about taking the role when producers and creator Hans Rosenfeldt – creator of hit Scandinavian drama The Bridge – first contacted her.

“They called me and asked if I knew Hans Rosenfeldt,” she said. “I’d watched The Bridge and absolutely loved it, but when I they said it was a crime drama I wasn’t sure. The detective thing has been done so many times and I wasn’t sure what I could bring to it. 

“But they said ‘Come and talk to Hans’ because there’s a very different new take on it. There’s a whole twist on this character which I’m not allowed to reveal yet!”

Marcella continues at 9pm on Monday on ITV