|Also known as||The Iron Empress|
|Written by||Son Young-mok
|Directed by||Shin Chang-suk
|Opening theme||"Opening" (various artists)|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||78|
|Executive producer(s)||Kim Won-yong|
|Running time||Saturdays and Sundays at 21:30|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
|Original run||January 3, 2009 – September 27, 2009|
Empress Cheonchu (Hangul: 천추태후; hanja: 千秋太后; RR: Cheonchu Taehu; also known as The Iron Empress) is a 2009 South Korean period television series based on the titular character, an actual historical figure and her lifelong struggle to protect the country her ancestors built. The granddaughter of Goryeo Dynasty founder Taejo Wanggeon, the empress ruled as the regent for her son Mokjong, the dynasty's seventh ruler. Determined to realize her ambitious goals for the kingdom of Goryeo, she dons armor, battles against foreign invaders, and tramples her lover, her son and brother in her rise to power.
The drama is based on the historical Dowager Queen Empress Cheonchu of the Goryeo, who fought against the Liao Dynasty in order to achieve her Grandfather's personal dream of reclaiming old lands lost over the years to other associated tribes and countries such as the Khitans and some Jurchens.
The series largely revolves around her desire to influence and win back her son (later known as Mokjong) from her brother Seongjong when he decided to have his nephew succeed him as ruler. Seongjong deemed her unacceptable to raise the boy in preparation of his future as Emperor and has his barren wife raise the boy as their son.
This causes a lot of conflict between Seongjong and his sister despite their continual working together to maintain the country from external and internal threats such as the Khitan invasion and various royal court intrigues and power struggles.
There are several liberties taken in the series the most obvious is that Mokjong is depicted as having epilepsy which is part of the reason General Gang Jo later removes him from ruling the country. There are no known facts supporting that the historical Mokjong had epilepsy.
- Chae Shi-ra as Hwangbo Soo / Empress Cheonchu
- Kim Suk-hoon as Kim Chi-yang
- Choi Jae-sung as Gang Jo
- Lee Deok-hwa as General Gang Gam-chan
- Kim Ho-jin as Wang Uk / Prince Gyeongju (Gyeongjuwongun)
- Shin Ae as Hwangbo Seol / Empress Heonjeong (the Empress's younger sister)
- Ban Hyo-jung as Empress Sinjeong (Taejo's 4th wife)
- Lee Young-ah as Empress Daemok (Gyeongjong's mother)
- Choi Cheol-ho as Gyeongjong (The 5th Emperor and the Empress's husband)
- Kim Myung-soo as Seongjong (The 6th Emperor and the Empress's older brother)
- Moon Jung-hee as Empress Munhwa / Lady Kim (Seongjong's 2nd wife)
- Lee Hyun-kyung as Empress Mundeok / Lady Yu (Seongjong's 1st wife)
- Lee In as Mokjong (The 7th Emperor and the Empress's son)
- Lee In-hye as Empress Seonjeong (Mokjong's wife)
- Kim Ji-hoon as Hyeonjong (The 8th Emperor and Empress Heonjeong's son)
- Park Si-eun as Empress Wonjeong (Hyeonjong's wife)
- Im Hyuk as Seo Hui (Minister of Foreign Affairs)
- Jeon Moo-song as Lee Ji-baek
- Won Suk-yeon as Lee Kyum-ui
- Lee Ki-yeol as Choi Sum
- Kim Byeong-ki as Kim Won-seung
- Kim Jong-kyeol as Choi Ryang
- Kim Ha-kyun as Choi Hang
- Park Ji-il as Kim Shim-eon
- Oh Wook-chul as Jo
- Jo Byung-kyun as Lee Yang
- Lee Joon-woo as Seol Shin-yoo
- Jeon Seong-hwan as Choi Ji-mong
- Maeng Ho-rim as Park Yang-yoo
- Im Byung-ki as Han Un-kong
- Choi Jun-yong as Lee Hyun-woon
- Choi Dong-joon as Dae Do-soo
- Park Cheol-ho as Kim Hoon
- Choi Wang-soon as Choi Jil
- Lee Won-bal as Yoo Bang
- Hong Il-kwon as Yang Kyu
- Shim Hye-jin as Empress Xiao of Liao
- Jang Dong-jik as Emperor Shengzong of Liao
- Oh Gun-woo as young Emperor Shengzong of Liao
- Ji Dae-han as So Son-nyung
- Jung Heung-chae as So Bae-ap
- Kim Myeong-kuk as Ya Yool Juk Ryeol
- Kim Sung-Hyun as Ya Yool Boon No
- Lee Han-sol as Ya Wool Moo Ki
- Hong In-young as Chun Hyang-bi
- Kim Ye-won as young Chun Hyang-bi
- Lee Chae-young as Sa Il-ra
- Kim Hyeong-min as Sa Ka-moon
- Jung Jin as Ko Hyun
- Ahn Hae-sook as court lady Yoon
- Kim Mi-ra as Lee Seol-hwa
- Kim So-eun as young Hwangbo Soo
- Park Eun-bin as young Hwangbo Seol
- Kim Min-ji as young Lady Kim
- Han Bo-bae as young Seonjeong
- Park Ji-bin as young Mokjong
- Choi Woo-hyuk as young Seongjong
- This is Choi Woo-hyuk's comeback drama since he last appeared in 2002's Glass Slippers.
- Filming was halted because lead actress Chae Shi-ra fell off a horse and had to wear a cast for several weeks.
Awards and nominations
|2009||KBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Chae Shi-ra||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama||Kim Suk-hoon||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama||Shim Hye-jin||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Choi Cheol-ho||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Moon Jung-hee||Won|
|Best New Actress||Kim So-eun||Won|
|Best Young Actress||Park Eun-bin||Won|
|Best Couple Award||Kim Hyeong-min and Lee Eun-jung||Nominated|
|Kim Ho-jin and Shin Ae||Nominated|
- Han, Sang-hee (30 December 2008). "Whats on Cultural Horizon in 2009?". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Han, Sang-hee (16 September 2009). "Experienced Actors Stealing Spotlight". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Oh, Jean (2 January 2009). "Wonder women, eye candy herald TV's New Year". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Yeom, Min-a (11 February 2009). "Kim So-eun dreams to become chameleon-like actress". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Lim, Hye-seon (4 January 2010). "Lee Byung-hun scores triple wins at KBS Acting Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-31.