New Catherine The Great TV series filmed on location in Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 09:15 18 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:55 18 June 2020
Scenes of a new TV series set in 18th-century Russia following the rise of Catherine the Great were filmed on location in Hatfield.
The Great, starring Elle Fanning as the infamous Catherine the Great and Nicholas Hoult as Russian Emperor Peter III, was partly filmed at Hatfield House.
The fictionalised ahistorical series debuted on American streaming service Hulu last month and is now available in the UK on StarzPlay.
It premieres here from today (Thursday, June 18) on streaming service StarzPlay, which is available through Amazon Prime Video.
Rakuten TV has also launched a StarzPlay subscription service within its platform.
The bawdy series will also be screened on Channel 4, with the date to be confirmed.
Stretching artistic licence to the limit, The Great follows the rise of Catherine the Great from outsider to the longest-running female leader in Russian history.
The satirical period piece – “sort of” based on historical facts – is made much in the same vein as The Favourite, which is hardly surprising when you see the creatives involved in the project.
Tony McNamara, the Oscar-nominated co-writer of The Favourite screenplay, is also the creator and executive producer of The Great, which is based on his own comedic stage play.
Both The Favourite and The Great shot scenes on location in the grounds of Hatfield House, Lord Salisbury’s Hertfordshire estate.
Nicholas Hoult, who played Harley in Yorgos Lanthimos’ critically acclaimed comedy period drama The Favourite alongside Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, also returned to Hatfield for filming of the pilot episode of The Great.
The Marble Hall is among the rooms used in the 400-year-old Jacobean mansion for the anti-historical ride through 18th-century Russia.
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Filming also took place in the West Garden in the grounds of Hatfield House, with Elle Fanning besides the fountain.
Elsewhere, filming took place at Castle Howard in Yorkshire and Ham House.
Overseas, the Royal Palace of Caserta near Naples, Italy, is another stunning location used by producers for the 10-part miniseries.
Most of the interiors for the series, however, were shot on sets at the iconic 3 Mills Studios in London.
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Of The Great’s leads, Elle Fanning played Aurora opposite Angelina Jolie in Disney’s Maleficent, and its sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Mad Max: Fury Road actor Hoult, meanwhile, recently starred in Fox Searchlight’s biopic Tolkein, playing famed author J.R.R. Tolkien opposite Lily Collins.
Last summer, Hoult was also seen reprising his role as Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
The cast of The Great also includes Gwilym Lee as Grigor, Emperor Peter’s best friend and right-hand man in the period romp.
He posted a picture of Hatfield House and its gardens from the direction of the Old Palace on Instagram in December 2018 with the words: “Today’s office...”
Gwilym Lee starred as Brian May in Oscar-winning Queen musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, having previously played DS Charlie Nelson in the ever-popular ITV series Midsomer Murders.
Incorporating historical facts “occasionally”, the genre-bending series also stars Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, who played butler Alfred Pennyworth in Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, and Sacha Dhawan, who plays The Master in Doctor Who.
The cast also includes Skins actor Sebastian de Souza, recently seen in BBC’s Normal People, Bayo Gbadamosi from TV series War of the Worlds, and Belinda Bromilow.
The project is produced by Civic Center Media in association with MRC Television.
Season one of The Great is a fictionalised, fun and anachronistic story of an idealistic, romantic young girl who arrives in Russia for an arranged marriage to the mercurial Emperor Peter.
Hoping for love and sunshine, she finds instead a dangerous, depraved, backward world that she resolves to change.
All she has to do is kill her husband, beat the church, baffle the military, and get the court onside.
Set in 1761, the first episode, entitled The Great and directed by Matt Shakman, sees Catherine travel to Russia and becomes the Empress by marrying the Emperor of Russia, Peter.
Scenes in the opening episode were shot on location at Hatfield Hatfield.
With hopes of marrying a great love, Catherine (Elle Fanning) soon realises Peter (Nicholas Hoult) is a selfish, idiotic brat who stands against everything she values.
Catherine is feeling hopeless and verging on suicide when her servant, Marial (Phoebe Fox), presents her with an alternative path – to overthrow Peter.
Written by showrunner Tony McNamara, the second episode, entitled The Beard and directed by Colin Bucksey, sees Catherine takes her first steps toward a coup.
Taking advice from Marial, she attempts to seduce and recruit palace intellectual Count Orlo (Sacha Dhawan).
It’s a disaster. However, after seeing Peter’s brutal treatment of local nobles and unwillingness to listen, he decides to join Catherine’s coup.
How can I watch The Great in Europe?
STARZPLAY will premiere the series on Thursday, June 18 in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Latin America.
The premium streaming service from Starz is available on Prime Video Channels, the Apple TV app, Virgin Media, Roku streaming players and Roku TV models, and the recently launched StarzPlay App for iOs and Android.
Subscribers across these platforms have access to an exclusive line-up of premium programming including Vida starring Melissa Barrera, The Spanish Princess and upcoming series Power Book II: Ghost starring Mary J. Blige.
STARZPLAY is available via the Prime Video app to watch anytime, anywhere on smart TVs, iOS and Android mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets and games consoles, and through the web at www.amazon.co.uk/channels
Subscribers to the STARZPLAY channel on the Apple TV App can watch online or enjoy offline downloads of their favourite shows and movies.
Virgin TV customers who add the STARZPLAY subscription to their package can view the content by pressing ‘Home’ on their V6 remote control and then clicking On Demand followed by Box Sets.
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