Helen Mirren to star in HBO and Sky miniseries Catherine the Great

The Oscar-winning actress said she was "very excited" about taking on the monarch

Helen Mirren (Getty)

Helen Mirren is returning to the small screen as she takes the lead in new HBO miniseries Catherine the Great.

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The Oscar-winning actress will play the title role in the four-part series which will air on Sky Atlantic in the UK and HBO in the US. “I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power,” Mirren said.

“She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word Great attached to her name, Catherine the Great. I am very grateful to have HBO and Sky as partners in this endeavour. There are no other homes on television that bring the support and understanding needed for this kind of project.”

The series will be written and directed by people who have formerly collaborated with Mirren, while the actress will also serve as executive producer.

Writer Nigel Williams, who previously won both a Golden Globe and Emmy Award for Elizabeth I which starred Mirren, and director Philip Martin are on board for the project. Martin previously directed Mirren in Prime Suspect.

The series will explore the life of Catherine at the end of her reign and her affair with Grigory Potemkin.

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HBO’s Kary Antholis said she was “jubilant about having Helen Mirren back on HBO, playing the iconic Russian empress and joining this distinguished team of British filmmakers.”