New US comedy drama, losely based on Catherine the Great. Catherine (Elle Fanning) takes her first steps toward a coup, attempting to seduce Orlo (Sacha Dhawan) in the hope of recruiting him to her cause. But it’s an awkward disaster – she blurts out her plans to him as he flees. Peter (Nicholas Hoult) receives Count Rostov (Abraham Popoola), who requests to keep his beard to hide his pustules, even though Peter has outlawed beards. His request is denied. Peter debates killing Catherine, as she is not fitting in at court. Catherine decides to heed Orlo’s advice to play happy, leading Peter to let her live. After publicly embarrassing Lady Svenska (Danusia Samal), Marial (Phoebe Fox) visits her much loved dog Blini in her old lavish apartment. When Lady Svenska catches Marial trespassing, she attacks the Lady. Svenska finds retribution by having Marial brutally whipped. Orlo, meanwhile, encourages change in Peter, and suggests relaxing his beard ban. Peter instead punishes Orlo and he’s forced to shave Rostov’s face with a knife. Orlo arrives in Catherine’s salon splattered with blood, resolved to join Catherine’s coup.
The Great: The Beard – Sunday 9pm on Channel 4