January 6, 2019

PETA campaigners might want to look away, as the (hopefully fake) furs are firmly out in this image from HBO and Sky’s upcoming four-part miniseries Catherine the Great, featuring lead stars Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke.

Set against the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of Russian empress Catherine the Great (Mirren), who wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century, the limited series follows Catherine towards the end of her reign during her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin (Clarke). Amid scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together serving as the architects of modern-day Russia.

Written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I, in which Mirren played the British monarch) and directed by multi award-winning Philip Martin (The Crown), Catherine the Great also stars Joseph Quinn as Paul, Catherine’s son and heir; Gina McKee as Countess Bruce, Catherine’s lifelong friend and confidante; Rory Kinnear as Minister Panin, a skillful politician, advisor and governor to Catherine’s son; Richard Roxburgh as Grigory Orlov, one of Catherine’s former lovers, who helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power; Kevin R. McNally as Alexei Orlov, who, with his brother Grigory, helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power; and Sam Palladio as Alexander Vasilchikov, Catherine’s young lover.

The series is the third commission from Sky and HBO’s high-end global drama partnership and is produced by Origin Pictures and New Pictures. It is due for release in 2019.