Helen Mirren Stars as Catherine The Great
Debuting this month, Catherine The Great is a British-American four-part miniseries narrating the life of the Empress of Russia, starring Helen Mirren and directed by Philip Martin. The production features a close-knit team which has worked together on several occasions in the past. Helen Mirren stars as main lead, in another reprisal under the direction of Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning writer Nigel Martin. Director of Prime Suspect, Phillip Martin, once again takes up direction, having worked with Mirren on the popular series. The miniseries focusses on Catherine towards the end of her reign, during her tumultuous and passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin, played by Jason Clarke.
Born as Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, Catherine reigned as Empress of Russia between 1762 and 1796. Her husband ascended to the throne as Peter III, Emperor of Russia, in 1762 which made Catherine empress consort. With an unfaithful and distraught marriage, both Catherine and Peter lived separate lives of promiscuity. History has remembered more than twenty lovers that Catherine had, including Count Serge Saltykov, Count Stanislaw August Poniatowski, Count Grigory Orlov, Prince Grigory Potyomkin and Count Platon Zubov. During her reign as empress, Catherine was an active and popular ruler. She participated in the Russo-Turko wars, the Russo-Persian wars and played the role of mediator in many international conflicts. Urban legends about Catherine’s promiscuity and sexuality abounded, with many false tales conjured in the decades after her death.
Speaking about the sexual themes in the miniseries, Mirren went to great lengths during the publicity of the drama. In scenes to be aired in episode 3, Catherine and her lover Griogory Potemkin are shown in an embrace. Speaking to Radio Times, Mirren declared, “They were like Antony and Cleopatra. The relationship was on that historical level.”
Catherine The Great is on available on Sky Atlantic to watch now!