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HELEN Mirren (pictured) wears a crown well – winning a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Oscar for her stunning transformation as the title role in The
Queen and in her latest regal incarnation in this four-part series, she brings both a majesty and a meanness to the role of Catherine the Great. After conspiring with her lover Grigor ( Rake’s Richard Roxburgh) to have her sick husband King Peter III killed off, she seizes control – only to have to fight off the many men who want the throne for themselves. The fascinating empress was born a minor German princess, Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, but did her best to embrace her adopted country, taking on the more Orthodox name of Catherine. Perhaps wisely, she develops a close relationship with an army lieutenant, Potemkin (Aussie Jason Clarke), who becomes both her confidante, adviser and lover.
CATHERINE THE GREAT 6PM, SUNDAY, FOX SHOWCASE