The series about the promiscuous Russian Queen, who ruled in the 18th century, will be a no-holdsbarred account, say insiders. A source said: "Cath
The series about the promiscuous Russian Queen, who ruled in the 18th century, will be a no-holdsbarred account, say insiders. A source said: “Catherine behaved like a man, with lots of lovers. There is so much sex in the story, the scenes are rich, racy and very graphic. If people found the BBC’s Versailles raunchy, this story is a notch up. It is a passion project of Helen Mirren’s and it looks like it will be the raunchiest historical drama we have seen on UK television.” But Dame Helen has reassured viewers of the HBO/Sky Atlantic four-parter, which airs in autumn, that there will not be any controversial scenes with a horse.
Catherine was said to have been crushed to death, aged 67, by a horse while attempting to have sex with it.
Historians now dismiss the lurid tale as a myth put out by her enemies.
Dame Helen, 73, said: “That was a complete calumny thrown at her by history, because history really doesn’t like very successful, very powerful women. They have to drag them down.”
Speaking at the BFI and Radio Times TV festival, she added: “I hope we are going to reinstate Catherine’s reputation as the incredible leader she was. She made mistakes and had faults, and finished up quite tyrannical. But she was originally a reformer and a westerniser of that vast country.”
Unlike Britain’s more reserved Royal Family, Catherine – who died following a stroke – was no different to other Russian empresses, said Dame Helen, an executive producer on the project.
“They all had a series of lovers. The whole attitude to sex was so different. They had lovers and it was an accepted part of their culture.That’s so not British.”