Lesley Manville reveals famous face she ‘channelled' for murder mystery role

The actress is taking over as Princess Margaret in Netflix series The Crown.

Actress Lesley Manville has revealed she “channelled” Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for her new role in the mystery drama series Magpie Murders.

Academy Award nominee Manville has extensive credits including films Phantom Thread, Maleficent and sitcom Mum.

The stage, screen and TV performer will next play character Susan Ryeland, editor of a publishing company, in a detective drama adapted from Anthony Horowitz’s book.

Emily Maitlis
Emily Maitlis has presented Newnight since 2006 (Ian West/PA)

In an interview with Radio Times, the actress revealed she based the character on BBC journalist Maitlis, who has been presenting BBC Two current affairs programme Newsnight since 2006.

Manville, 65, said: “Emily Maitlis kept coming to my mind.

“It would be easy to imagine that highly intelligent women with important jobs just don’t worry about clothes, but I just thought, ‘No, come on, I’m going to rock this one.’

“I remember seeing Emily walking across the foyer of BBC TV Centre and, while obviously the mind is brilliant, she was looking fabulous in really high heels.

“So I’ve channelled her. I hope she’s pleased!”

The Crown
Manville will take over from Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in The Crown (Sophie Mutevelian/Netflix)

Manville stars in Magpie Murders, which comes out on February 10 on the BritBox channel, alongside actor Daniel Mays.

The TV star is also taking over the role of Princess Margaret from Helena Bonham Carter for the final two seasons of Netflix drama The Crown.

She added: “Princess Margaret is cooking very nicely.

“I’m presenting her from the early 90s through to, I imagine, her death.

“I can’t tell you anything about it or they’ll get Helena Bonham Carter back and age her up, but I’ve got a lot of nice stuff to get my teeth into, especially with my dear friend, Imelda Staunton.

“It’s a very nice job.”

Manville was made a CBE for services to drama and charity, receiving her royal honour at an investiture ceremony in Windsor Castle last November.

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