Mary & George: release date, episode guide, cast, trailer and everything you need to know about the historical drama

Mary & George on Sky Atlantic and AMC features Oscar winner Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine.
Nicholas Galitzine and Julianne Moore in Mary & George (Image credit: Sky)

Mary & George is a historical drama with Julianne Moore as its lead and is based on the true story of a scheming mother and son who clawed their way from humble beginnings to the heart of the British monarchy in the 17th century. 

Inspired by Benjamin Woolley’s non-fiction book The King’s Assassin: The Plot to Murder King James I, the series shows how Mary Villiers, played by Moore, groomed her son to seduce King James I and as a result, they became one of the richest, most titled and important mother and son partnerships England had ever seen. 

"Mary Villiers was a woman who through her own actions rose to become a powerful and influential figure in Jacobean London," says Moore. "It's a daunting but exhilarating challenge to bring her to life on screen."

Here's everything you need to know about Mary & George.

Mary & George release date

Mary & George premieres Friday, April 5, on Starz in the US. It is available to stream immediately on the Starz app, but is also going to air on live TV on the Starz cable channel at 9 pm ET/PT on April 5. New episodes of the eight-part series will premiere weekly.

The show has already premiered in the UK, airing on Sky Atlantic.

How to watch Mary & George: stream the historical drama series online

Is there a trailer for Mary & George?

Yes, Sky and Starz have released an official trailer for Mary & George. Plus, an earlier teaser trailer shows all the scheming going on in and around the court of King James I. It looks deliciously wicked. Do take a look bith below...

Mary & George plot 

Mary Villiers was the penniless second wife of George Villiers, who on his death became the Countess of Buckingham. She very quickly realized her beautiful second son George had the ability to become an influential political figure. She scraped together the money to send him to the French court and then to the English court, where he became the favorite of King James I. 

As he rose through the ranks, so too did Mary and her family, and she then engineered his marriage to Katherine, Baroness de Ros, who was said to be the richest woman in England. Mary was disliked but used her incredible intellect to get where she wanted to be, despite being a woman in a man’s world. 

It begins with Mary finding herself in dire financial straits and seeking a secure future for her family, so she hatches a scheme for her handsome son George to become the King's new favorite.

Although King James I (Tony Curran) was married to Queen Anne of Denmark (Trine Dyrholm), his intimate relationships with his closest male advisors were rumored to be sexual. Sensing an opportunity for George to capitalize on his good looks, Mary conspires to ensure the King catches sight of her son. Sure enough, King James is soon smitten with the young man.

As George is elevated into a powerful position as a royal favorite, Mary and the rest of the family enjoy the benefits of his proximity to the throne. But this soon creates tension between mother and son.

Mary & George cast — Julianne Moore on playing Mary Villiers

Julianne Moore as ambitious mother Mary Villiers.

Julianne Moore as ambitious mother Mary Villiers. (Image credit: Sky / AMC)

In Mary & George, Julianne Moore takes on the role of greedy, ambitious Mary Villiers. "Mary was incredibly ambitious on behalf of her children," says Julianne. "In educating her sons, she learned that George was utterly charming. He wasn't great at academics, but she sees his great beauty, and how attractive he is to other people.

"Mary feels this is something she and George are creating together. But as George gets older and gains more influence, he starts to chafe under her direction. It ends up becoming a power struggle between the two of them."

Moore won an Oscar for her role in Still Alice, about a professor who has early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. She's also starred in Hannibal, A Single Man, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Woman in the Window.

Nicholas Galitzine on playing George

British star Nicholas Galitzine plays Mary's son George, who she wants to seduce King James I. 

"The genesis of it is transactional for George," says Galitzine. "I don't think he develops feelings until a few months, perhaps years, into the relationship, but there ends up being this sincere love between them."

Galitzine has previously starred in Prime Video's Red White & Royal Blue and Cinderella, plus High Strung, Purple Hearts and Handsome Devil.

Nicholas Galitzine as George.

Nicholas Galitzine as King-tempter George. (Image credit: Sky / AMC)

Who else is starring in Mary & George? 

Further casting for Mary & George, includes Tony Curran (Mayflies) as King James I.

Tony Curran says: "The sexuality and sensuality in the show isn’t crass in any way – it’s there because it’s a part of these people’s lives. It was certainly interesting for me. I’d ask the producers, “What am I wearing today?” and they’d reply, “Your birthday suit, pal!”’

Nicola Walker (The Split, Unforgotten, Marriage) is playing Lady Hatton, Niamh Algar (The Wonder, Malpractice) is Sandie, Trine Dyrholm (The Legacy) plays Queen Anne and Sean Gilder (Sherwood, Slow Horses) as Sir Thomas Compton

Also look out for Adrian Rawlins (Chernobyl) as Sir Edward Coke, Mark O’Halloran (The Virtues) as Sir Francis Bacon, Laurie Davidson (Masters of the Air, Guilty Party) as Somerset, Samuel Blenkin (The Witcher: Blood Origin) as Prince Charles, Jacob McCarthy (SAS: Rogue Heroes) as Kit Villiers, Tom Victor (Consent) as John Villiers, Alice Grant as Susan Villiers, Amelia Gething as Frances Coke, Mirren Mack (No Escape, The Nest) as Katherine Manners, Rina Mahoney (Happy Valley, Cobra) as Laura Ashcattle, and Simon Russell Beale as Sir George Villiers. 

Tony Curran as King James I.

Tony Curran as King James I in Mary & George (Image credit: Sky / AMC)

Mary & George episode guide

Mary & George episode 1
Mary Villiers, Countess of Buckingham, plots to transform the fortunes of her family forever, but she must first convince her troublesome son George to rise to the occasion.

Mary & George episode 2
Mary wants to boot out King James' favourite, Sir Somerset, and she asks for an audience with Queen Anne in order for her son George to get the chance to attract the king.

Mary & George episode 3
Somerset puts obstacles in George's way, whereupon Mary decides to intervene. However, her intervention ends in a debacle: Mary and George become the laughingstock of the court.

Mary & George episode 4
King James travels to Scotland, George and his younger brother Kit are allowed to accompany him.

Mary & George episode 5
England is in trouble because Sir Walter Raleigh has attacked Spanish troops in South America. As a diplomatic newcomer at the English court, George finds himself caught between the fronts.

Mary & George episode 6
While the people become dissatisfied with the king and make demands for war with Spain, James' lack of money for the queen's funeral leaves her lying dead in the palace for weeks.

Mary & George episode 7
George travels to Madrid with Prince Charles to ask for the infanta's hand in marriage. Meanwhile, in London, Mary succeeds in becoming a close confidante of the now seriously ill king.

Mary & George on Sky Atlantic features Oscar winner Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine.las

Oscar winner Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine as Mary & George.  (Image credit: Sky/AMC)

Behind the scenes and more on Mary & George

Mary & George is a Sky Original and Starz drama produced by Hera Pictures. Oliver Hermanus (Living, Moffie) helms the series as lead director alongside second and third block directors Alex Winckler (Somewhere Boy, This Way Up) and Florian Cossen (Deutschland 86, The Empress). 

The seven-part series is written by acclaimed playwright DC Moore (Killing Eve, Temple), inspired by the non-fiction book “The King’s Assassin” by Benjamin Woolley. 

Liza Marshall is the executive producer for Hera Pictures alongside DC Moore and Oliver Hermanus. Sam Hoyle serves as Executive Producer for Sky Studios. 

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.