After her award-winning performances as Elizabeth I. and Elizabeth II., Dame Helen Mirren is adding another commanding and unforgettable royal ruler to her glittering CV as she heads the cast of Sky Atlantic’s sumptuous drama “Catherine the Great”. The four-part series, which has been filmed in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania, follows the formidable 18th century Russian empress’ dramatic later years as she tranforms her nation into one of Europe’s greatest powers. All the political and sexual intrigue surrounding Catherine’s colorful court is also brought to life, including her passionate and complex romance with military leader Grigory Potemkin (Jascon Clarke), who helps her bring Russia to glory. Gina McKee (Bodyguard) co-stars as Catherine’s confidant and lady-in-waiting Countess Braskovya Bruce and Rory Kinnear is shrewd politian Nikita Panin, the governor to her son Paul (Joseph Quinn). Richard Roxburgh, Kevin McNally, Paul Ritter and Paul Kaye also feature. “Catherine rewrote the rules of governance by a woman and succeeded to the extent of having the word ‘great’ attached to her name”, explains Mirren, who thinks the drama will offer a new take on the empress. “History tried to drag Catherine down. I hope we are going to reinstate her reputation as the incredible leader that she was”.