“The comedy was just delicious to read”: Charity Wakefield, Adam Godley, Douglas Hodge and Gwliym Lee on The Great season three
The Great, the expletive-filled, deadpan humour-laden, liberty-with-historical-fact-taking period drama from Tony McNamara, is back. “Huzzah!”
Once again taking the loose story of the rise to power of Catherine the Great as its basis, we follow the escapades of Empress Catherine and Emperor Peter, who are doing their best to make their flailing marriage work, played exceptionally by comedically well-timed duo Elle Fanning and Nicolas Hoult.
Among their marital hiccups are Peter witnessing his own attempted murder at Catherine’s hands and also her imprisoning all of his friends. Plus Peter is feeling at a loose end playing First Husband to Catherine’s reign, so tries to occupy himself with other things – such as being a father – to keep away visions of his own late father (Jason Isaacs) reminding him of his failures as Peter the Great’s son. Catherine the Great, meanwhile, starts carving out a name for herself beyond her borders and learning what it means to be a political leader.
All plays out in the usual satisfyingly silly, darkly comic and satirical manner the show has gained its following for (it’s not a surprise to learn McNamara was a co-writer of The Favourite), with the 18th century Russian costumes and sets going hell-for-leather, while the anti-historical narrative cleverly explores themes of power, corruption, faith and women’s place in society that strike a chord with a contemporary audience.
The Upcoming spoke with some of the cast, including Charity Wakefield, who told us what fans could expect from this third instalment and particularly from her character, Georgina. She shared why she’s such a fun role to play and why the series has the following it does. Wakefield also gave a sneak glimpse of her forthcoming role as Princess Beatrice in a film about that Prince Andrew interview.
Adam Godley then shared his experiences of playing the sexually repressed, rather untrustworthy archbishop, why he was drawn to being part of this nonconventional period drama, and how, for him, acting for screen and stage go hand in hand.
Our writer Matthew McMillan also spoke with Douglas Hodge about his character, Velementov, and why he wanted to join the show.
Gwilym Lee further described about playing Grigor Dymov and his experiences of being on-set.
Sarah Bradbury/Matthew McMillan
The Great season three is released on 14th July 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Great season three here: