Who does he play? King Louis XIV
What's his story? "At 28 years old, King Louis XIV of France is in sole command of his kingdom, following the death of his mother, Anne of Austria. Louis is a spirited and seductive man, an extraordinary strategist and an utterly ruthless statesman. Louis has a dream, an obsession: to build the most beautiful palace in all of Europe – Versailles. Versailles sees Louis XIV grow from a young King into an all-powerful absolute monarch."
Where do I recognise him from? Vikings and Les Miserables
Who does he play? Philippe, Louis' younger brother
What's his story? "Louis’ younger brother Philippe, known as Monsieur, is a free spirit, an effeminate dandy and a ferocious warrior. A lover of art and beauty, Philippe walks the gardens of Versailles dressed as a woman and willingly submits to the sexual whims of his lover, Chevalier de Lorraine. On the battlefield, he is a formidable soldier, able to win the support of entire regiments. This does not fail to arouse immense jealousy in his brother. To further complicate matters, Philippe’s neglected wife, Henriette, finds herself in Louis’ arms."
Where do I recognise him from? Merlin, Privates, The Indian Doctor
Who does she play? Marie-Therese, The Queen
What's her story? "Marie-Therese is docile and pious. Her rigid Spanish education means she has few friends. An isolated, tragicomic character, she uses what others mistake for stupidity to hide her most intimate secrets."
Where do I recognise her from? Burnt, Line of Duty, Game of Thrones, Skins
Who does she play? Henriette
What's her story? "Sister of King Charles II of England, Henriette, known as Madame, is the wife of Philippe and the mistress of King Louis. Henriette fulfills her duties with grace and elegance. A delicate English rose, fully aware of her dynastic obligations, she is a cunning politician and a force to be reckoned with. Desperate to secure the love of her life, she agrees to become a pawn on the political chess board, sealing the secret Treaty of Dover between France and England… such is the price of maintaining her position."
Where do I recognise her from? This is her first UK TV role
Who does he play? Chevalier
What's his story? "Chevalier, Philippe’s male lover, is as handsome as he is toxic. Petty and manipulative, he is the perfect conspirator. He enjoys controlling his lover and constantly belittling his rival, Henriette."
Where do I recognise him from? Baxter, Murdoch Mysteries, Awkward.
Who does she play? Louise de La Vallière
What's her story? "Louis’ mistress for many years, Louise de la Vallière feels she is gradually losing the King’s heart… yet she still loves him. Louise knows that her adulterous relationship with the King, and the child she secretly bears, will be severely condemned by the church. The shy pregnant mistress becomes a penitent martyr. She begs the King to grant her exile from the court so she can seek refuge in a convent and reconcile with God."
Where do I recognise her from? Casanova, An Adventure in Space and Time, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Who does she play? Madame de Montespan
What's her story? "Madame de Montespan is witty, graceful and probably the most ambitious woman at the court of Versailles. Married to the jealous Marquis, and lady-in-waiting to the powerful, she uses her position and her talent for repartee to reach her ultimate goal: Louis. 1667 will be the year when all her hard work finally pays off."
Where do I recognise her from? Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Silent Witness, Nearly Famous, The Tudors
Who does he play? Bontemps, Louis’ First Valet and Governor of Versailles
What's his story? "Bontemps is the warm and friendly Governor of Versailles. He considers it his duty to defend the King against all those who try to get near him. A rich man who sleeps each night at the foot of his master’s bed, he is the closest person to King Louis. As such, his loyalty is tested daily."
Where do I recognise him from? The Musketeers, Taggart, Sunset Song, Slow West
Who does she play? Beatrice, Chevalier’s cousin (fictional)
What's her story? "Beatrice is a penniless widow who tries everything to get closer to her distant cousin, Chevalier, who she plans to use as a springboard to wealth and stature. Her trump card in this quest is her beautiful daughter, Sophie, “the fairest of all” at the court of Versailles. Beatrice is a secretive and manipulative woman."
Where do I recognise her from? Sylvia, The Last Mistress, Sisters
Who does she play? Sophie (fictional)
What's her story? "Sophie, the beautiful daughter of Beatrice, is 16 years old. She is a girl full of dreams, an ingenue out to enjoy life and follow her passions. However, her mother has other plans for her – a strategy to ensure her daughter achieves a privileged rank in the court, with a place alongside the King. Soon, Sophie discovers that the glitter of Versailles hides a cruel and violent world… where one must abandon candor in order to survive."
Where do I recognise her from? This is her first major TV role
Who does he play? Fabien Marchal, Chief of Louis’ Police Force (fictional)
What's his story? "Fabien is the leader of King Louis’ Stasi-like police force. Officially reporting to Bontemps, Fabien sometimes receives his orders directly from the King, when Louis has needs he knows Bontemps cannot fulfill. Fabien is terrifying not only because of his intimidating physique, but because of his chilling eyes that see everything."
Where do I recognise him from? Snakes on a Plane, Road to Nowhere, SGU Stargate Universe
Versailles starts tonight at 9.30pm on BBC2