SAS Rogue Heroes – The DVDfever Review – BBC drama – Dominic West

SAS Rogue Heroes

SAS Rogue Heroes is a new six-part World War II drama, which states it’s:

    “Based on a true story. Those events depicted, which seem most unbelievable… are mostly true.”

It sets the scene with the following text, while AC/DC’s If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) blares away in the background:

    “In Spring 1941, Britain and the Colonial armies stood alone against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Britain was clinging on in North Africa, defending its vital supply route of the Suez Canal.

    As the Nazis advances, the Allied armies fell back on Tobruk, a crucial port they had to defend at all costs.

    If Tobruk fell, Suez would be lost. If Suez was lost, Africa would be lost. If Africa was lost, the war would be lost.

    In the words of Winston Churchill, the whole English-speaking world was passing through a dark and deadly valley.

    In the words of the common soldier, we were fucked.”

So, the men know they’re up against it, but given the cavalier attitude a lot of them have – perhaps through the stress of war, what we have is mostly cocky characters showing off, the three male leads being Connor Swindells as English soldier David Stirling, winding up some Aussies in a bar, then Jack O’Connell playing Paddy Mayne, an Irish soldier who likes to cause trouble, and finally, Alfie Allen as Welsh soldier Jock Lewes. Between the latter two, and Sofia Boutella as French intelligence officer Eve Mansour, we have some terrible accents to assault our ears. Given that there’s no subtitles on the preview I saw, the accents from most of these just mean their words are largely indistinguishable. It’s not quite ‘Allo ‘Allo, but it may as well be.

There’s also scant humour – any of which signposts itself way before the revelation comes – such as when the men need to refuel their vehicles ahead of their 100-mile trip to Tobruk… but they have no petrol trucks. Oops!

Between them all, and anyone else he can get to join – Jock forms a parachute regiment off his own bat – going against his superiors, as he’s had enough of being told what to do, starting with a test parachute in the desert. Quite why they’re doing this, I didn’t grasp, but then… lack of subtitles didn’t help.

What also didn’t help is that the trailer made it looks like SAS Rogue Heroes is a full-on action adventure, but in watching the opener, it feels like it’s all sitting around and talking, rather than actually getting involved in any action. It’s just so is slow to get going. I’ve finished the first episode, and I’m still waiting for it to start!

I don’t know if events will ramp up from the second episode, nor whether or not there’s going to be a full series on the iPlayer from day one, but I’ll wait for reactions to that follow-up episode before I decide whether or not to invest any more time.

SAS Rogue Heroes begins tonight on BBC1 at 9pm, and will be available to watch after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.

You can pre-order SAS Rogue Heroes on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on December 5th.

You can also buy the Novel.

SAS Rogue Heroes – Official Trailer – BBC

Director: Tom Shankland
Producer: Stephen Smallwood
Writer: Steven Knight
Novel: Ben Macintyre

David Stirling: Connor Swindells
Paddy Mayne: Jack O’Connell
Jock Lewes: Alfie Allen
Lieutenant Colonel Wrangel Clarke: Dominic West
Eve Mansour: Sofia Boutella
Reg Seekings: Theo Barklem-Biggs
Bill Fraser: Stuart Campbell
Jim Almonds: Corin Silva
Major Knox: Miles Jupp
Canary Barman: Beru Tessema
Pat Riley: Jacob Ifan
Dr Gamal: Amir El-Masry
Stirling’s Father: Anthony Calf