A comedy-drama set in the 18th Century and fuelled by satire, ‘The Great’ revolves around the rise of Catherine the Great, Empress of All Russia. It follows her journey as she begins to plot the murder of her incompetent husband, Emperor Peter III, in order to save her country and herself. Created by Tony McNamara for Hulu, the series stars Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Sacha Dhawan, and Gillian Anderson in pivotal roles. The historical drama is known for its brilliant costumes and fantastic locations that attempt to capture the milieu of the Russian royals.
The humor that the show derives from its twisted approach to history is magnified because of the impressive castles, lush gardens, and serene forests explored by its ludicrous, luxe-loving characters. With season 2 amping up the tension between Catherine and Peter, their lavish gilded backdrops serve as reminders of their wealth, history, and power, highlighting exactly what’s at stake. If you were wondering where the second season of this show was filmed, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive right in and take a look at ‘The Great’ season 2 filming locations.
The Great Season 2 Filming Locations
‘The Great’ season 2 is set in Saint Petersburg, Russia. However, it was likely filmed in cities, towns, and villages across the counties of England, such as London, Belvoir, York, Richmond, Kemsing, and Hever. Additionally, scenes were also filmed in Caserta, Italy. Most of these locales were used for the filming of season 1 as well.
Reportedly, filming commenced in November 2020 and concluded by July 2021. By choosing actual historical sites and ancient castles, the show attains a semblance of realism. Let’s take a closer look at its specific filming locations.
‘The Great’ season 2 was filmed in London, England. With its rich history and culture, iconic monuments, and world-class production facilities, London is a popular backdrop for historical and period dramas. In particular, the 3 Mills Studios, located precisely in East London at Three Mill Lane, Three Mills Island, serves as an important filming site for the show.
Ornate sets are constructed by the show’s production team in order to add a sense of regality and authenticity to the larger-than-life characters and their settings. In fact, a bulk of the scenes are filmed within this studio. Recognized as London’s largest film and television studio, 3 Mills Studios is regularly visited by production crews for its fantastic stages and talented industry professionals.
Shows like ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘Luther’ were also filmed in this renowned studio. Scenes of the historical drama are also filmed in the Bow area of London.
‘The Great’ season 2 was likely shot in Belvoir, Leicestershire as well. The tiny village is known for its iron ore mining history as well as for the Belvoir Castle. Originally built in 1066 and rebuilt several times over the hundreds of years since, the Belvoir Castle is located at Grantham and acts as the backdrop for several of the show’s scenes. The castle is also known for being the filming location of ‘The Crown’ and ‘Downton Abbey.’
York, North Yorkshire
‘The Great’ season 2 was seemingly filmed in York, North Yorkshire as well. Castle Howard, especially, is used as a backdrop in the show. It is known for its lush grounds and massive Atlas Fountain. Shows like ‘Bridgerton’ and ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ were also filmed in and around this grand castle.
‘The Great’ season 2 was also likely filmed in Richmond, Surrey. The well-known Ham House, located on Ham Street, is often the backdrop against which we see the show’s characters. Constructed in the 17th Century and located on the banks of the River Thames, the red-brick mansion is known for its well-manicured gardens.
‘The Great’ season 2 was possibly filmed in Kemsing, Kent as well. The St Clere Estate, located near Sevenoaks, is frequently seen as a backdrop in the show. A popular tourist spot, it is known for its rich history and interesting architecture. Shows like ‘Gangs of London’ and ‘The Third Day’ were also filmed at this location, which is only 30 miles from central London.
Hever in Kent also serves as one of the filming sites. In particular, Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, acts as an important filming site for the show. Located on Hever Road, the castle was built in the 13th Century and contains beautiful paintings from the Tudor period as well as an exquisite loggia/outdoor gallery. It also has beautiful gardens set in 125 acres of land and a gorgeous 38-acre lake. No wonder the historical dramedy has this locale as its filming site.
‘The Great’ season 2 was apparently filmed in Caserta, Italy as well. It is the Royal Palace of Caserta, situated within the city and also known as Reggia di Caserta, that serves as the magnificent Winter Palace in the show. Located at Piazza Carlo di Borbone, it is the largest royal residence in the world in terms of volume. The 18th Century palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is renowned for its Baroque architecture.
“We selected the palace because it doesn’t have a lot of movement to it and is more Russian baroque, classical, and very similar to the original winter palace,” said Francesca di Mottola, the production designer, talking about why the Royal Palace of Caserta was initially selected by the production team. ‘The Great’ benefits not only from its fantastic sets but also from its exploration of European historical sites, castles, and grounds.
Although the show primarily uses English and Italian palaces to depict the physical environments of the Russian royals, it clearly captures their penchant for extravagance. In season 2, the show continues to expertly use fantastic locales, brilliant props, antique paintings, and amazing costumes, all touched by gold, to humorously examine the lives of Catherine, Peter, and their subjects.
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