Disney

has released the first photo of Emily Blunt as

Mary Poppins

ahead of the return of the magical nanny in a new film.

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

She is clutching her trademark patterned handbag, presumably full of peculiar over-sized delights, but is missing her signature parrot-topped umbrella.

Blunt, 33, will take on the lead role in the follow-up to the 1964 film which starred Julie Andrews. The new film,

Mary Poppins Returns,

is due to be released on Christmas Day 2018.

Based on PL Travers's famous character, it 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 as chimney sweep Burt in the original movie, has confirmed he will appear in the sequel.

The 91-year-old actor will join a cast which also includes Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Miranda, the creator and star of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, will play street lamplighter Jack in the film.

The film's director is Rob Marshall, whose previous work includes Chicago and Into The Woods, while the script is being written by Finding Neverland writer David Magee.