The Guardian reports the story thus:
The hunt is on for a new Miss Marple after actress Geraldine McEwan announced her retirement from the role today.
McEwan has played Agatha Christie's heroine sleuth Jane Marple since ITV1 brought her back in 2003 and starred in the role in 12 TV films.
ITV and Marple rights owner Chorion will begin the process of finding a new Miss Marple next week.
Candidates for McEwan's replacement are thought to include Victoria Wood, Julie Walters, Prunella Scales, Anna Massey and Eileen Atkins.My vote would be for Prunella Scales - who made a more convincing Queen Victoria than Judi Dench did - and above all not for Victoria Wood or Julie Walters, much as I admire the former at least.
Returning to the McEwan vs Hickson question, let me quote something I wrote a couple of years ago:
I have been trying to work out why I believe Joan Hickson was a much better Miss Marple than Geraldine McEwan.
In part it is the two performances. McEwan is visibly acting the whole time - all those little smiles and grimaces - whereas Hickson hardly seemed to be acting at all. Outwardly she was all stillness, yet she managed to convey the underlying intelligence and the core of moral steel which brought murderers to justice.
And in part it is the people around them. With some of them now over 20 years old, the Hickson Miss Marples are beginning to look like a late manifestation of the mid-century Britain in which they were set. Such figures as Joan Greenwood and George Baker appear in the cast list; one of the films was even directed by Roy Boulting.
McEwan, by contrast, has to put up with the company of people like Dawn French and Harry Enfield. It's a prejudice of mine, but was there ever a more self-regarding and overrated generation than that which came to prominence in the 1980s? And even if you like these figures, their profile is such that they are always bigger than the characters they play.That last point explains why I would not like to see Victoria Wood or Julie Walters playing Miss Marple. But they could perhaps play that underexploited Christie character Ariadne Oliver.