Image of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher unveiled

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher Streep said Thatcher was a "remarkable woman"

Film fans have been given their first glimpse of Hollywood actress Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in upcoming film The Iron Lady.

Shooting has just begun on the film, written by Sex Traffic's Abi Morgan and directed by Mamma Mia's Phyllida Lloyd.

The film follows Baroness Thatcher as she broke through class and gender barriers to become prime minister.

The film also stars Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher. The cast also includes Richard E Grant and Anthony Head.

"The prospect of exploring the swathe cut through history by this remarkable woman is a daunting and exciting challenge," said Streep.

"I am trying to approach the role with as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses - I can only hope my stamina will begin to approach her own," she added.

The film is a Pathe, Film4 and UK Film Council production.

The Thatcher era, 1979 to 1990, was a time of great social and economic change for Britain.

Elected just after the winter of discontent, Thatcher embarked on a tough reform programme - her top priorities were tackling inflation and the unions.

Her policies divided the country - the service sector and home ownership boomed, but manufacturing declined and unemployment soared.

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