Catherine the Great

Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars in an epic and romantic Sky original about the power, politics and passions of legendary Russian empress Catherine the Great.

About Catherine The Great

Catherine is intelligent, resourceful and utterly determined. She faces challenges on all sides, but everyone has underestimated the new Empress. Catherine has no interest in getting married again after the disaster of her first marriage. She certainly has no intention of handing power over to her son. This is not just a story of incredible political success against all odds. It is also a love story between the most extraordinary woman and man of the age.

The characters

Meet the cast of Catherine The Great

Empress Catherine

Helen Mirren

The longest-serving female ruler in Russian history and one of the most significant monarchs of modern Europe, Catherine is responsible for a huge expansion of the Russian Empire, including the acquisition of Crimea, and turning Russia into one of the great powers of Europe. Brought from Germany as a young girl to marry the heir to the Russian throne, it soon became apparent to everyone that she was a more suitable ruler than her unstable husband.

Grigory Potemkin

Jason Clarke

Grigory Potemkin is the love of Catherine’s life and the most powerful man in the Russian empire for much of her reign. Charismatic, irreverent, and witty, Potemkin is as bold in the face of Court intrigue as he is brave on the battlefield – refusing to be intimidated by anyone. Gifted at political calculation and shrewd in military strategy, Potemkin becomes not just Catherine’s most important and trusted advisor, but her intellectual, emotional and political soul mate.

Minister Panin

Rory Kinnear

Minister Panin is Catherine’s chief minister and Prince Paul’s tutor, but his loyalties ultimately lie with the Crown Prince. Panin is the closest thing that Paul has to a parent and mentor. A cunning politician and master diplomat, Panin was a key supporter of Catherine’s coup but was left disappointed by Catherine’s decision to declare herself Empress rather than act as a Regent for her son.

Grigory Orlov

Richard Roxburgh

Grigory is Catherine’s first real love. They begin an affair whilst she is still married to her unpleasant husband, Emperor Peter III, and he plays a key role in the coup to place her on the throne. He is a handsome, rather simple soldier more at home in the barracks than the Court. His relationship with Catherine slowly deteriorates as he realizes she will never marry him for fear of public perception.

Countess Bruce

Gina McKee

Countess Bruce is Catherine’s oldest friend and most trusted confidante. She has been by Catherine’s side since she first arrived in Russia as a young bride in a foreign land. She is an intelligent, charismatic and sexually liberated woman - much like Catherine - and takes a keen interest in any attractive young men who arrive at Court. In later years, Countess Bruce provides a link to Catherine’s idealistic youth and a painful reminder of how much she has had to compromise and change.

Prince Paul

Joseph Quinn

Often referred to as the “Russian Hamlet”, Paul is a tortured figure who struggles to cope with his father’s death and his mother’s new lovers. Taken from Catherine at birth and raised by his great aunt, Empress Elizabeth, and tutor, Minister Panin, Paul never formed a loving relationship with Catherine.

Alexei Orlov

Kevin McNally

The brutal, conniving and ambitious brother of Grigory Orlov (Richard Roxburgh), Alexei played a key role in the coup that placed Catherine on the throne. He is also the man responsible for killing Catherine’s deposed husband Peter III in a drunken brawl. While he poses a political threat to Catherine, Alexei is given several notable positions in government. However, his power starts slipping away as Catherine’s relationship with Grigory hits the rocks.

Episode guide

Episode 1

Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars in an epic and romantic Sky original about the power, politics and passions of legendary Russian empress Catherine the Great.

Episode 2

Potemkin returns, only to discover that Catherine has a new lover. Orlov stokes Prince Paul's ambition as he grows more and more frustrated by his lack of power.

Episode 3

Catherine struggles to deal with Potemkin's moods and jealousy. Then, tragedy strikes for Paul, forcing her to resort to extreme measures.

Episode 4

In the final episode, Potemkin is forced to fight for Catherine and for Russia once again, and the exertion of war begins to take its toll on their relationship.

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