Catherine The Great: First Look

4 October 2018

Helen Mirren holds court as formidable Russian Empress in Sky and HBO’s Catherine the Great.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the politically ruthless 18th century Russian court, this is the first image of Helen Mirren as one of the most powerful female leaders of all time, in Sky and HBO’s original British drama Catherine the Great.

Set to star alongside the Oscar® winner in the glittering and power-hungry court are BAFTA winner Gina McKee (Bodyguard), as Catherine’s lifelong friend and confidante Countess Bruce, and Rory Kinnear (The Imitation Game) as Minister Panin, a skilful politician, advisor and governor to Catherine’s son and heir Paul (Joseph Quinn).

Jason Clarke will play Potemkin, favoured statesman and Catherine’s life-long friend and lover, Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge) joins as Grigory Orlov, one of Catherine’s former lovers who, with his brother Alexei Orlov (played by Kevin R McNally, Unforgotten), orchestrated the coup that brought Catherine into power.

The wider cast includes Clive Russell (Game of Thrones) as The Fool, Sam Palladio (Nashville) as Catherine’s young lover Alexander Vasilichikov, Lucas Englander (Genius) as Lieutenant Mirovich, Antonia Clarke (Les Misérables) as Princess Sophie, Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner) as General Suvorov, Paul Kaye as Pugachev, Thomas Doherty as Peter Zavadovsky, Raphael Acloque as Platon Zubov, James Northcote as Alexander Bezborodko, Adam El Hagar as Valerian Zubov and Andrew Rothney as Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov.

Currently shooting in palaces and sets across Russia, Latvia and Vilnius in Lithuania, this four-part epic will chart the latter years of Catherine’s 34-year reign, as she builds Russia’s reputation as one of the great powers of Europe.

The first-look image shows Helen Mirren as Empress Catherine in her private quarters modelled on the original Russian palaces and surrounded by hand-copied paintings from the Hermitage. The elaborate Lithuanian hand-embroidered gown took over two weeks to stitch and was inspired by the Puritan style of dress introduced by Catherine, which became the Russian national costume.

Written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I) and directed by BAFTA and Emmy® Award-winning Philip Martin (The Crown), Catherine the Great is produced by New Pictures and Origin Pictures. It is the third commission from Sky and HBO’s high-end global drama partnership.

The series will air on Sky Atlantic and TV streaming service NOW TV in the UK and Ireland next year, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain. Sky Vision will handle international sales and distribution.

Read more from the Deadline article here.