Entertainment

Dame Helen Mirren is regal again in Catherine the Great pics

The veteran actress is seen in costume for a ‘transvestite ball'.

Dame Helen Mirren is dressed for a transvestite ball in her new role as Catherine the Great.

The 73-year-old actress stars in the Sky Atlantic drama, set in “sexually charged” and “politically tumultuous” 18th century Russia.

Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren (Sky Atlantic/PA)

In one image released before the mini-series airs, she is seen in a “suit specially made for the Empress to enjoy at the transvestite ball”, one of the monarch’s “favourite events”.

Transvestite balls were a favourite pastime of Catherine’s court, according to producers, and costume designer Maja Meschede said: “Catherine the Great often used strategies of gender concealment or disguise.”

Dame Helen Mirren in a golden gown
Dame Helen Mirren in a golden gown (Sky Atlantic/PA)

The Queen star came up with the idea for the Sky Atlantic drama, saying she had always wanted to play the Russian empress.

“I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power,” she has said of the series.

Dame Helen Mirren in the drama
Dame Helen Mirren in a blue ballgown in the drama (Sky Atlantic/PA)

The drama will follow Catherine towards the end of her reign and her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin in a “story of obsessive love”.

Other images show Dame Helen in a golden ceremonial gown stitched with beading and pearls, a blue ballgown worn on the anniversary of the monarch’s coronation, and a green military riding outfit.

Dame Helen Mirren as Catherine The Great (
Dame Helen Mirren wears a green military riding outfit in Catherine the Great (Sky Atlantic/PA)

Dame Helen won a best actress Oscar for her role in The Queen and also played the monarch on stage in The Audience.

The Catherine the Great costumes will be available to view at the BFI Southbank from Friday to Sunday April 14.

Catherine the Great is set to air on Sky Atlantic this autumn.

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