ACTRESS Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher in an upcoming series of Netflix hit The Crown.

The star, 51, who is best known for her portrayal of FBI Dana Scully in SCI-FI hit The X Files, said she was excited to be joining the cast of the Royal drama.

Rumours that The Fall star would portray the former prime minister were first voiced earlier this year.

She said: "I am so excited to be joining the cast and crew of The Crown and to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman. 

"Thatcher was undoubtedly formidable but I am relishing exploring beneath the surface and dare I say falling in love with the icon who whether loved or despised, defined an era."

Anderson will feature in season four of the historical drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Season three is scheduled to be streamed on Netfiix on November 17 and will feature Oliva Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II as well as Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. 

Former Prime Minister Thatcher died in 2013. She was 87 years old. 

The Crown has already featured several historical leaders including Winston Churchill and President John F Kennedy.