Joanne Froggatt is set to play serial killer Mary Ann Cotton in 'Dark Angel'.
The 34-year-old actress - who won a Golden Globe award for playing lady maid Anna Bates in 'Downton Abbey' - has been cast as the lead in the ITV Victorian drama based on the real-life story of the 19th-century serial killer who, by the time she was executed in 1873, was believed to have killed three husbands, eight of her own children, seven stepchildren and her mother.
Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, an executive of 'Dark Angel' said: "But she's not just an evil bitch. Yes, she poisoned all these people. The husbands so she could live off inheritance; and the rest because they were in her way. But underneath it all, there's a humanity about her."
The two-parter - based on the book 'Mary Ann Cotton: Britain's First Female Serial Killer' by David Wilson and directed by Brian Percival - is due to start filming in August around North Yorkshire and Country Durham.
Joanne has previously had roles in 'Coronation Street' and 'Bad Girls', as well as playing the sister of Myra Hindley in 'See No Evil: The Moors Murders'.