Skip to main content

Why you’ll fall for The Regime

Why you’ll fall for The Regime

Get ready for your new favourite show – a scabrously funny satire revolving about a ruthless politician played by Oscar winner Kate Winslet, new on Sky Showcase

By Chris Miller, Feature Writer

It used to be that there were TV actors, and then there were film stars, and never the twain would meet. But the quality of telly is so high these days that TV casts are simply bursting with Oscar winners, whether it’s Matthew McConaughey in True Detective, Cate Blanchett in Mrs America, or Big Little Lies, which boasted Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep in its cast (plus Laura Dern, who won an Oscar after she was in it).


Which brings us to Kate Winslet. The Berkshire-born star has seven Oscar nominations and a Best Actress win for The Reader, but in recent years she’s turned her hand to TV with spectacular results. The latest of these is The Regime, a blackly comic satirical drama in which Winslet plays the authoritarian leader of a fictional central European country, whose rule is beginning to crumble. Here’s a look at the series…


With an intriguing story, incredible locations and a superb cast around the always brilliant Winslet, we can’t wait to dive into the six episodes of Sky Exclusive series The Regime when it begins on Monday 8 April at 9pm on Sky Showcase HD (CH 109). Here’s all the reasons we’re excited about it.


Kate Winslet is just the best

She’s been wowing us in movies since Beautiful Creatures and Sense And Sensibility in the mid-90s, Titanic made her a global icon, and oh yes, let’s not forget all that Oscar success – but she’s done her finest work on TV. Winslet was mesmerising in the superior miniseries Mildred Pierce as a self-sacrificing mother in the Great Depression; more recently she was magnetic as a brittle, just-about-coping detective investigating a disturbing case while trying to hold her family together in the terrific crime thriller Mare Of Easttown. She won the Golden Globe and the Emmy for Best Actress for both.


In 2022’s one-off Channel 4 drama I Am… Ruth, she played a mother trying to protect her teen daughter from online dangers and earned yet more critical acclaim, as well as a BAFTA and a Royal Television Award. And if you remember her uproarious guest spot in Ricky Gervais’s Extras, dispensing sex advice while dressed as a nun, you’ll have been impatient for Winslet to get her teeth into a comic creation like Elena Vernham in The Regime for years.


The rest of the cast are amazing too

The hugely versatile Andrea Riseborough, star of the recent Alice & Jack and Oscar-nominated for To Leslie, plays the palace’s under-pressure manager, while Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust And Bone, The Danish Girl) is Vernham’s faintly psychotic personal bodyguard. The cast is packed with reliable screen veterans including David Bamber (Mr Collins in the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride And Prejudice), Rory Keenan (Striking Out) and Stanley Townsend (Traitors).


The guest stars are great, from Martha Plimpton (A Town Called Malice) as a visiting US Senator to Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard) as a political scapegoat. And then there’s Hugh Grant, putting in more brilliant, nuanced work as the country’s embittered former leader. It’s getting hard to remember the days when we thought of him as a blandly charming romcom star, isn’t it?


There’s serious talent behind the camera

The Regime was created by Will Tracy, a writer on the scathing Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and the adored Succession; he also co-wrote the screenplay to 2022’s bleakly satirical comic horror movie The Menu, with Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy. The writing staff also includes Last Week Tonight’s Juli Weiner, acclaimed playwright Sarah DeLappe and novelist Gary Shteyngart, who knows his authoritarian regimes having been born in Soviet Russia.


The series’ two directors are Jessica Hobbs, who’s worked on The Crown, Broadchurch, The Split, Apple Tree Yard and much more, and Stephen Frears, a stalwart of British TV and cinema since the 1970s – from My Beautiful Laundrette to the recent A Very English Scandal (with Hugh Grant), Quiz and State Of The Union.


It’s got plenty to say about power

While the country in the show is fictional, and there are no clear parallels between Winslet’s Vernham and any current world leaders, her authoritarian approach and ruthless treatment of her opponents show the dangers of bestowing some people with more power than is good for them.


Vernham plays similar games whether she’s dealing with highest levels of international diplomacy or her household, and always with the same aim: her own self-preservation. The people? Oh yes, them. They benefit from simply looking up to a strong leader, right?


Everything looks unbelievably gorgeous

Filming took place at some imposing edifices in Vienna – Liechtenstein Garden Palace (pictured), Schönbrunn Palace, Pallavinici Palace and the Hofburg – lending grandeur and authenticity to the series. However, much of The Regime was shot in England at locations including Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham and Sheffield Botanical Gardens, as well as the Shalesmoor area of the city – an unexpected yet impressively effective double for a central European capital.


When does The Regime start on Sky Showcase?

The six-part Sky Exclusive series The Regime starts on Monday 8 April at 9pm on Sky Showcase HD (CH 109), when all episodes will be available in On Demand > Sky Showcase.


You might also like

TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.

HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.

Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.

On Demand: Content available to view depends on TV package. Time limits apply for viewing chargeable On Demand content – see Once purchased, all chargeable On Demand content must be viewed within 48 hours. Premium channels and upgrades must be kept for at least 30 days.