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Disney releases first photo of Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins

Emily Blunt, right, will replace Julie Andrews in the title role in the new film Credit: PA

Disney has released the first photo of Emily Blunt as magical nanny Mary Poppins, ahead of the new film.

The award-winning actress is pictured on a leafy street, wearing a dark blue coat and pink hat in a photo uploaded to Instagram by Disney.

While she can be seen holding her trademark handbag she does not appear to be carrying her signature parrot-topped umbrella.

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Blunt, 33, will replace Julie Andrews in the title role in the follow-up to the 1964 film, Mary Poppins Returns, which is due to be released on Christmas Day 2018.

Based on PL Travers' famous character, the new film tells the story of an older Jane and Michael Banks and Michael's three children, who are visited by Poppins in the aftermath of a "personal loss" in Depression-hit London.

Dick Van Dyke, who starred in the original film as cheerful cockney chimney-sweep Burt, has confirmed he will appear in the sequel.

The 91-year-old actor revealed he had agreed to join the cast of the new movie, which includes Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Broadway it musical Hamilton.