Dame Diana Rigg’s role in the new season of Victoria has been revealed.
The 78-year-old Game of Thrones actress, best known as Emma Peel in the 1960s TV series The Avengers, will play the Duchess of Bucchleuch.
The young Queen’s new Mistress of the Robes, the character is apparently “renowned for speaking her mind.”
Filming is currently underway on Season 2, which is again written by creator and executive producer Daisy Goodwin.
Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) and Tom Hughes (The Game) will be back as Victoria and Prince Albert in eight new episodes of the drama series, which will see Queen Victoria face the new challenge of motherhood.
Victoria launched in the UK last autumn and premiered in the US earlier this year, with the first season reaching an average audience of 6.3m viewers and the first episode drawing in a 28% share – more viewers than the first season of Downton Abbey.
Season 2 will pick up six weeks after the first season ended, with Victoria as a working mother, learning to balance her responsibilities as both parent and Queen. However, with Prince Albert still struggling to find a role for himself there is an inevitable power struggle between husband and wife.
The new episodes will also include trips to France and Germany, touch on tragedy in Ireland and war in Afghanistan, and see Victoria and Albert discovering sanctuary in the Isle of Wight.
Executive producer Damien Timmer has hinted: “[Season 1] was a big success both at home and abroad, and it is a privilege to continue to tell the story of this fascinating woman at a particularly interesting point in her reign. Audiences will be intrigued by the meticulously researched stories Daisy has planned, brimming with scandal, romance and tragedy. At the centre of it is a beautifully nuanced study of a young marriage, and it’s a joy to watch Jenna and Tom find new layers to this iconic couple.”
Returning cast members will include Nigel Lindsay (Unforgotten) as Sir Robert Peel, Alex Jennings (The Lady In The Van) as King Leopold, Peter Bowles (To The Manor Born) as Duke of Wellington, David Oakes (The White Queen) as Ernest, Daniela Holtz (Circle Of Life) as Baroness Lehzen and Catherine Flemming (Tatort) as the Duchess of Kent, alongside Nell Hudson (Outlander) as Skerrett, Ferdinand Kingsley (Borgia) as chef Francatelli and Adrian Schiller (The Secret Agent) as Penge.
A two-hour festive special has also been confirmed for this Christmas.