Comic actress Julia McKenzie has been chosen to be the ITV’s new Miss Marple, the OAP crime sleuth.

Julia, 66, will begin filming her first Miss Marple mystery, A Pocketful of Rye, at the end of February.

She is taking over from Geraldine McEwan, who announced in January that she was retiring after three series as the internationally popular Marple.

Julia said: “I’m very excited but also slightly daunted by the enormous responsibility that comes with taking on such an iconic role. 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.

“And I suppose I’ll have to remind myself how to knit!”

ITV drama boss Laura Mackie said the much-loved role was open to interpretation and Julia would bring another dimension to the classic character.

Julia appeared most recently as Mrs Forrester in BBC1 series Cranford, although she remains most famous for the 1980s sitcom Fresh Fields.