"The Bible" mini-series producer Roma Downey has described the appointment of Pope Francis as “divine timing”.

The Derry born actor and producer said Pope Francis has inspired people during his time in the Vatican.

"It certainly feels like there's divine planning in all of it," Roma Downey said during an interview with Zap2it.

"The new pope," Downey continued, "he's been wonderful, hasn't he? He's just inspiring such hope and belief. People are reconnecting. People are being inspired by his leadership and his humility, by the tenderness with which he's approached his office, and the choices he's made so far."

She added: "He's showing a servant's heart. He's certainly demonstrating how the rest of us can be in the world. We have a new pope of hope, and what we're going to see are seeds of hope flourishing in people's hearts and in people's lives."

Alongside her husband Mark Burnett, Downey is an executive producer and also plays the role of the Virgin Mary.

On its opening night ‘The Bible’  pulled in a record breaking 14.8 million viewers, the History Channel’s largest ever audience. The 10 hour film adaptation tells the story of the Bible "from Genesis to Revelation.”

The History Channel mini-series ‘The Bible', created by ’Irish actress Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett, has been slammed by the New York TimesReuters