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Helen Mirren to play Catherine the Great in TV mini-series

Dame Helen Mirren in The Queen

Story by Jack Foley

DAME Helen Mirren is to play Catherine the Great in a new TV mini-series.

The Oscar-winning actress, famed for playing The Queen, came up with the idea for the series and will be teaming up with both Sky and HBO to realise her vision.

She said: “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.”

According to reports, the drama will consist of four episodes that will ‘delve into the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of the most powerful female monarch in history’.

It will follow Catherine towards the end of her reign and examine her passionate affair with the Russian general Grigory Potemkin.

According to Sky, Catherine the Great was ‘the definition of the modern woman’… someone who wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th Century, who was ‘strong-minded, independent, brilliantly intelligent and sexually liberated’.

The drama has been written by Nigel Williams, who wrote the TV mini-series Elizabeth I, which also starred Mirren as a monarch.

Philip Martin, whose credits include Prime Suspect and The Crown, will direct.

Filming is due to begin later this year. Catherine the Great will air on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the UK and Ireland next year (2019), and will be broadcast around the world.

Mirren, 72, won a best actress Oscar for her role in The Queen and also played the monarch on stage in London in The Audience.