SAS Rogue Heroes: BBC release date, trailer, cast with Jack O’Connor and Alfie Allen - is it a true story?

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight adapts Ben McIntyre’s book about the history of the SAS in a new BBC One drama

SAS Rogue Heroes, a new drama from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, is coming to BBC One on Sunday 30 October.

The series, which stars Dominic West and Connor Swindells, charts the true story of the origins of the SAS during World War Two.

Here’s everything you need to know about SAS Rogue Heroes.

What is it about?

SAS Rogue Heroes follows the early days of the SAS – a kind of special action group within the army, it stands for Special Air Service – charting their origins in World War Two and the challenges they faced to get off the ground.

The official BBC synopsis for the series explains that “David Stirling – an eccentric young officer, hospitalised after a training exercise went wrong – is bored. Convinced that traditional commando units don’t work, he creates a radical plan that flies in the face of all accepted rules of modern warfare.”

“He fights for permission to recruit the toughest, boldest and brightest soldiers for a small undercover unit that will create mayhem behind enemy lines. More rebels than soldiers, Stirling’s team are every bit as complicated, flawed and reckless as they are astonishingly brave and heroic.”

Who stars in SAS Rogue Heroes?

Connor Swindells plays David Stirling, founder of the SAS. Swindells is best known for playing school bully Adam in Sex Education, but more recently you might have seen him in the BBC One submarine crime drama Vigil.

Dominic West plays Lieutenant Colonel Wrangel Clarke, one of the senior officers. West of course is a prolific actor, and you’ll recognise him from shows like The Wire, The Affair, and Les Miserables; he can next be seen playing the then-Prince Charles in The Crown Series 5.

Alfie Allen plays Jock Lewes, one of the first members of the SAS. You’ll recognise Alfie Allen from Game of Thrones, where he played Theon Greyjoy, or from roles in films like JoJo Rabbit and How to Build A Girl (which, with apologies to Beanie Feldstein, is terrible and you should avoid). He’s also Lily Allen’s younger brother, and Kieth Allen’s son, in case you didn’t know.

They’re joined by Jack O’Connell (Skins, The North Water), Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond, The Mummy), Tom Glynn-Carney (House of the Dragon), Miles Jupp (The Durrells), and Jason Watkins (The Crown) amongst others.

Who writes and directs SAS Rogue Heroes?

The series was created by Steven Knight, who writes all six episodes. Knight of course is best known as the creator of Peaky Blinders – yes, he’s currently working on a movie version still – but you might also know him from Taboo or See. His next project is Two Tone, a period drama about the Birmingham music scene. Interestingly enough, he was also one of the co-creators of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

SAS Rogue Heroes was directed by Tom Shankland, who’s best known for directing the BBC crime thriller The Missing. More recently, Shankland directed the BBC/Netflix co-production The Serpent, a true crime drama about a series of murders committed by Charles Leclerc in the 1970s.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, there is! You can watch it right here. (If you were wondering about the song, it’s a new version of The Stranglers’ hit No More Heroes, performed by Skin from Skunk Anansie.)

When and how can I watch SAS Rogue Heroes?

SAS Rogue Heroes will begin on BBC One on Sunday 30 October at 9pm, in the slot previously occupied by Bloodlands. New episodes will be released weekly thereafter, though you’ll also of course be able to watch the full series as a boxset on iPlayer immediately after the first episode has finished.

Is it based on a true story?

Yes, it is! The series draws specifically from a book of the same name by military historian Ben Macintyre (though as dramatisations go it’ll probably hew a little closer to established fact than Peaky Blinders ever did – Connor Swindells’ character David Stirling was a real person, unlike Tommy Shelby).

You wouldn’t happen to have recorded a podcast about it, would you?

Funnily enough, actually, yes! The first episode of our new podcast Screen Babble - available from Thurs 3 November on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and all good podcast providers - features a lengthy discussion of SAS Rogue Heroes and whether or not you should watch it.

How many episodes are there?

There are six episodes to SAS Rogue Heroes, each of which are around an hour long.

Why should I watch SAS Rogue Heroes?

It’s one to watch if you enjoy this kind of action-driven historical drama, or if you’re a fan of Steven Knight’s previous series like Peaky Blinders and Taboo. It’ll also be of particular note, of course, to anyone who’s interested in this period of military history.