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Maria lands icy role in Titanic's 100th anniversary

DOWNTON Abbey star Maria Doyle Kennedy has revealed that she is delighted to have been cast as a strong woman in a new Titanic drama.

The Commitments actress is currently starring in UTV hit period drama Downton Abbey and she's landed another top role scripted by Oscar winner Julian Fellowes.

Maria (46) will be playing a down-to-earth lawyer's wife called Muriel Batley in the €12m production.

Titanic: Blood and Steel is being shot in Ireland and will be released next year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

"Muriel doesn't like aristocrats and there's a great scene where she tells upper-crust passenger Lady Manton she's awful, ignorant and pathetic," Maria revealed.



BITCH

"Strong characters are always the best. I want to have good scenes, not just hang around as set dressing," she added.

The Dubliner is renowned for taking on challenging period roles, having previously taken on the part of Queen Katherine of Aragon in the acclaimed Tudors series.

The mum-of-four loves playing wilful characters as she made her first appearance as valet John Bates's estranged wife Vera in Downton Abbey.

She said: "I've got some awful things to say like, 'Isn't this tea lovely and, by the way, I'm going to wreck your life completely'. She's such a terrible bitch -- and bitches are the best to play. I just think, 'You have to remember it's not me -- it's Vera'."

hnews@herald.ie