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Catherine the Great reigns supreme as Sky reveals a new gallery of images set to feature in exclusive costume exhibition at the BFI Radio Times Festival


Decadent, politically tumultuous and sexually charged – prepare to enter the world of 18th century Russia in new images from Sky and HBO original drama Catherine the Great.

Released ahead of this weekend’s BFI Radio Times Festival, where Helen Mirren will be inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame, the images provide a glimpse into Mirren’s next major TV role as Catherine the Great which is set to air on Sky Atlantic this autumn.

The first look gallery showcases four of the opulent costumes worn by Helen Mirren as the Russian Empress, all of which are set to go on display for a limited period across the weekend of the festival.

These include Catherine’s golden ceremonial gown stitched with elaborate beading and pearls, the blue ball gown worn on the anniversary of the monarch’s coronation, a suit specially made for the Empress to enjoy at the transvestite ball- one of her favourite events- and the green military riding habit she wore whilst leading the charge on Russia’s expansion alongside longstanding lover General Grigory Potemkin.

Located in the BFI Southbank foyer, the Catherine the Great costume display will give visitors the chance to see in intricate detail the four costumes designed exclusively for Helen Mirren by costume designer Maja Meschede.

The Catherine the Great costume display will be available to view for a limited period at the BFI Southbank from Friday 12th  to Sunday 14th April.
A link to the gallery of brand-new images can be found here

Notes to Editors

About Catherine the Great
Written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I) and directed by BAFTA and Emmy® Award-winning Philip Martin (The Crown), Catherine the Great is produced by Origin Pictures and New Pictures.

The series will air exclusively on Sky Atlantic in 2019 and follows a host of BAFTA nominated dramas including Save Me, Patrick Melrose and Britannia which have recently launched in Sky’s most successful year to date for original programming.

Sky Vision will handle international sales and distribution.

About the costumes

Green Military Riding Habit
Catherine the Great was a great patron of the Guards’ regiments, who had done much to bring her to power. The Empress would have a riding habit made in accordance with the uniform of each regiment and wore the garment to appear before officers on regimental holidays.

Costumer designer, Maja Meschede elaborates: “This riding habit honours the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment, one of the oldest and most elite guard regiments of the Imperial Russian Army. It combines features of a uniform with Russian national costume and elements of the French fashion that was widespread in Russia at the time.”

Golden ‘Nakaz’ Dress
Catherine wears this golden gown for her Nakaz - an important ceremonial speech the Empress gives to her followers.   

Costumer designer, Maja Meschede says of the costume: “I wanted Catherine to look powerful and untouchable, the embodiment of Russianness. It took a month to complete the elaborate bead and pearl embroideries, which reflect Russian national costume. As a personal touch for Helen, we stitched the letters HM in pearls on the back of the cloak by the neck.”

Transvestite Ball costume
History tells us that Transvestite balls were a favourite pastime of Catherine the Great’s court, a tradition she continued from the Empress Elizabeth.

Maja adds “Catherine the Great often used strategies of gender concealment or disguise. With the transvestite ball, we can see how she seemed to enjoy making a public display of a mixed gender identity.

Blue Ball Gown
This dress takes inspiration from a gown that Catherine the Great wore in August 1772 on the anniversary of her coronation, which defined the style of ceremonial dress for the Russian Imperial Court until the end of its existence.

Maja Meschede says, “This blue dress fuses the style of a Russian peasant dress with the fashionable French silhouette and features embroideries made from gold and silver threads, pearl beading and rushed sleeves.”

About Sky
With 23 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group.

We have 31,000 colleagues and together we want to connect our customers to more of what they love, including our award-winning original productions, like Patrick Melrose and Save Me, and great shows from our partners including HBO, Showtime and Warner Bros. And our ever-improving technology makes it even easier for customers to watch more of the shows they love with personalised recommendations and voice control and, our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract free service.

We treat our customers better than anyone else in our field, as Ofcom’s complaints data shows, and we look after our staff too. Sky is one of The Times Top 50 employers for women and we’re in Stonewall’s list of Top 50 LGBT-Inclusive employers.

We also use our position as the leading entertainment business in Europe to do the right thing. As part of Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, we’re committing to be completely single-use plastic free by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re supporting the WWF to protect our oceans with designated Marine Protected Areas.

About HBO
HBO® is one of the most respected and innovative entertainment brands in the world, serving iconic, award-winning programming to 142 million subscribers globally. A subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc., HBO is the world’s most successful pay TV service with an extensive array of programming that includes some of the most notable titles to be on television including Game of Thrones®, Big Little Lies®, Westworld®, The Sopranos®, Sex and the City®, Band of Brothers®, and The Wire®. In the United States, HBO and sister network Cinemax® are available across multiple platforms including HBO On Demand®, Cinemax On Demand®, HBO GO® and MAX GO®, as well as HBO NOW®. Internationally, HBO branded services, including television networks and the standalone streaming product HBO GO, are available in more than 70 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. HBO and Cinemax programming is also sold into more than 150 countries worldwide.

About NOW TV
NOW TV is a pick and mix TV streaming service that lets you choose from a range of passes contract free. Available anytime, anywhere, you can watch through a NOW TV Box, on the web or on over 60 devices with the NOW TV app.

Whether you’re into big dramas, blockbuster movies, live sports or even just some extra TV for the kids, NOW TV offers four passes which include the latest and best TV and movies: Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Kids and Sky Sports. This includes Sky Atlantic, over 300 Box Sets on demand, all 10 Sky Sports channels and over 1,000 movies – all available with no contract.

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