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PREVIEW: The Great, Channel 4

New US comedy drama losely based on Catherine the Great. In 1761, Catherine (Elle Fanning) travels to Russia and becomes the Empress by marrying the Emperor of Russia, Peter (Nicholas Hoult).

Her hopes of marrying a great love are dashed as Catherine learns that Peter is a selfish, spoiled brat who stands against everything she values.

She is introduced to palace life by her servant, Marial (Phoebe Fox), who was once a lady of the court herself but was reduced to serfdom when her family was stripped of its status. Catherine meets Peter's priest and confidante, Archie (Adam Godley), who signifies the dark side of the church's influence on the crown.

Catherine is horrified to discover the open secret that Peter regularly lays with Georgina (Charity Wakefield), the wife of his best friend, Grigor (Gwilym Lee).Catherine befriends Count Orlo (Sacha Dhawan) and plans to turn an unused palace building into a school to educate the women of the court.

Peter, discovering Catherine's intentions, burns the building to the ground. Catherine is feeling hopeless and verging on suicide when Marial presents her with an alternative path - to overthrow Peter.

The Great begins Sunday 3rd January at 9pm on Channel 4.

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