How to watch The Great no matter where you are in the world

Want to know how to watch The Great? Here's how...

THE GREAT 2020 Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great in the TV series created by Tony McNamara
(Image credit: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo)

We've got the lowdown on how to watch The Great - the mostly fictional historical satire about the early days of Catherine the Great.

The Great, which stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, The Beguiled) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men, The Favourite, Skins), first debuted on US network Hulu before popping up in the UK in Channel 4, where it's currently airing on Sunday nights at 9pm. There a few different ways you can watch but, first, what's it about? 

The Great: what to know

A slyly funny, comedy-drama set in a 'reimagined' 18th century Russia, The Great follows a young, idealistic girl (played by Elle Fanning) who arrives, from Germany, for an arranged marriage to the cruel, mercurial, boorish, Emperor Peter (played to fine effect by Nicholas Hoult). 

Catherine naively believes she's heading for true love and a happy life full of sunshine and roses, but quickly discovers how wrong she is - as she finds herself in a dark and dangerous world. Alternately bullied and neglected by her husband, eventually Catherine decides to fight back and take charge of her world, transforming herself in the process into the famed figure Catherine the Great - Russia's longest-ruling female leader. 

Come for the drama and the performances, not for historical accuracy - because you won't find much of it in this "occasionally true story". Creator Tony McNamara, who adapted the TV show from his 2008 play, described it to Vulture as "a bit made up", melding details of Catherine's life that he felt worked for the show with "things that we wanted because they were amazing". Most of the characters are invented, there's a vibrant mix of eighteenth-century and modern language, and a soundtrack packed full of rebel rock and female-led punk anthems.

The Great Season 2

Originally commissioned as a limited series, the show has officially been renewed for a second run of 10 episodes, with the main cast confirmed to return. Filming is due to start at the end of 2020, so there's plenty of time to catch up on Season 1 before the next one drops.

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How to watch The Great from outside your country

If you're away from home and want to keep up with your favourite shows, you might find yourself coming up against geo-blocking technology. 

Luckily there's a simple solution - using a VPN. It's a handy piece of software that allows you to change your IP address so your mobile, computer, or laptop thinks it's in another location. Meaning, you can watch your favourite show, film or event - even if you’re outside your home country.

Our favourite VPN service is ExpressVPN - rated one of the best, by our colleagues at TechRadar.

If you sign up for an annual plan you'll get an extra 3 months absolutely FREE. And it's risk-free. If you change your mind in the first 30 days, let them know and they'll give you your money back.

How to set up a VPN to watch The Great

  1. Download ExpressVPN, using the easy-to-follow instructions (remember: you can get 3 months free and there's a 100% risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee).
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the United Kingdom.
  3. With your ExpressVPN installed and your location set to the United Kingdom, head to All 4, log in and follow the instructions to start streaming your first episode.

How to watch The Great online in the US

As a Hulu original show, The Great is available to stream on your smart TV, desktop, gaming console or your phone if you have a Hulu subscription. Subscriptions start from $5.99 per month, giving you access to their vast library of video-on-demand content. There's also the option for a free trial before you commit. 

How to watch The Great online for free in the UK

If you're in the UK, there are a couple of different ways to watch.

You can watch all 10 episodes of Season 1 for free on All 4 (Channel 4's free live and on-demand streaming streaming service). It's broadcast weekly, on Sunday nights at 9pm and episodes drop online shortly after. To watch, all you have to do is set up an account and you're good to go (but remember you should have a TV licence).  And once you're registered, as a UK resident you can watch your favourite Channel 4 shows from anywhere in the world, using a VPN.

The Great is also available in the UK via premium subscription services: streaming platform StarzPlay, on Starz's channel on Amazon Prime Video, and on-demand via Sky. All of these come at a cost with StarzPlay subscriptions starting at £4.99 per month and Sky subscriptions starting at a lot more.