Sky and HBO have announced that Helen Mirren will play the lead role in a new TV drama about Catherine the Great.
The four-part mini-series will explore “the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of the most powerful female monarch in history.”
Catherine wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century.
Described as “a story of obsessive love,” Catherine the Great will follow Catherine towards the end of her reign and her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin. Unable to publicly marry and famously promiscuous, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together shaping Russia as we know it today.
Helen Mirren commented: “I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power. She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word Great attached to her name, Catherine the Great. I am very grateful to have HBO and Sky as partners in this endeavour. There are no other homes on television that bring the support and understanding needed for this kind of project.”
Executive producer Charlie Pattinson added: “We are delighted to be working with Helen Mirren and Nigel Williams again after our previous collaboration on Elizabeth I. Nigel has already brought Catherine the Great and her extraordinary love story with Grigory Potemkin to life on the page and we couldn’t have better partners than Sky Atlantic and HBO and director Philip Martin. Catherine was one of the most powerful and extraordinary women in history. She deserves to be portrayed by an actress as fiercely intelligent and instinctive as Helen Mirren.”
The Queen is available to buy now on DVD.
Written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I) and directed by Philip Martin (The Crown), Catherine the Great begins filming later this year.
It will air on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Ireland in 2019, and on HBO in the US and in Canada.