The two-part series, slated as part of the 2010 programming season, will welcome back Dench (Amy's View, "Notes on a Scandal"), Staunton ("Vera Drake"), Atkins ("Gosford Park") and Francesca Annis ("Reckless"). Newly cast for the sequel are Pryce (Miss Saigon, "Pirates of the Caribbean"), Tim Curry (Spamalot) and Tom Hiddleston ("Wallander"). Based on the novels by Elizabeth Gaskell, "Cranford 2" is written by Heidi Thomas and chronicles "a small Cheshire market town in the early 1840s on the cusp of great change."
It has also been announced that London stage veteran Julia McKenzie (Follies, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd), who also appeared in "Cranford," will assume the role of Miss Marple in four new episodes of the Mystery! series based on the Agatha Christie characters. The episodes begin airing July 5.