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X-Files star Gillian Anderson to play Margaret Thatcher in season four of The Crown

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Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher in season four of Netflix drama The Crown, according to a report.

The 51-year-old actress will portray the former British Prime Minister during her 11-year tenure, which saw her in office from 1979 to 1990.

Gillian, who is known notably for playing Special Agent Dana Scully in the iconic series The X Files, won't appear in the show until season four, which is set to air in 2020.

The show's stellar cast includes Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter, 

Speaking about the role on Twitter, Gillian gushed: "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 despised, defined an era."

Season four is likely to feature political matters such South Africa's Apartheid legislation, the Falklands War and 1984/5 miners' strike.

Gillian, who grew up in both the UK and the US, is also currently featuring in Netflix series Sex Education as therapist Jean Milburn, and mother to main character Otis.

The actress' films have included The Last King Of Scotland, Johnny English Reborn and How To Lose Friends And Alienate People.

Olivia will take on the role of Queen Elizabeth II for the third and fourth series of the Netflix drama, taking over the role from Claire Foy.

Meanwhile, Tobias Menzies is set to portray Prince Phillip, following in the footsteps of Matt Smith, as the third season follows the royals from 1964 to 1977.

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