Internationally acclaimed actress Charlotte Rampling is to play a pivotal role in the new series of Broadchurch, it has been announced.

Legendary film and television actress Charlotte Rampling is to take a lead role in the new series of Broadchurch, broadcaster ITV, Kudos and Imaginary Friends announced today.

The phenomenally successful and multi award winning series, which captivated viewers when screened on ITV in 2013, begins filming in the UK in the coming weeks.

The details of her character and how she impacts on the drama and small community are being kept under wraps by ITV and the production companies.

Broadchurch creator and executive producer Chris Chibnall is delighted Charlotte Rampling has taken the role.

Mr Chibnall said: "We've been keeping this secret for months, it's been agony!”

“We have another big story to tell this year, and that meant finding exceptional actors for new roles. There's none more exceptional than Charlotte. To be writing for her is a dream come true.

“As you can imagine, Charlotte's character is an integral part of our new story -- but that's where we're drawing a veil, for now."

Broadchurch is commissioned for ITV by Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.

Mr November said: “We’re delighted Charlotte is joining the Broadchurch family.

“She’s the first of some exciting additions to the ensemble for the new series.”

The series is produced by Kudos and Imaginary Friends. Creator Chris Chibnall is an Executive Producer alongside Kudos Chief Executive Jane Featherstone. Richard Stokes, who produced the first series, will produce this new series. James Strong who directed five episodes of the first series will direct episodes one and two of the new series.

Further casting announcements will follow in the coming weeks.