SAS Rogue Heroes: Who's in the cast? When does it start? What is the true story it's inspired by?

The fascinating true story of how the world's greatest Special Forces service was created comes to BBC One this month. Find out who is in the cast and watch the trailer.

By Katie Archer Updated: 8 November 2022 - 11.16am

Drama, adventure and history are set to collide in SAS Rogue Heroes, a brand new series from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.

SAS Rogue Heroes is based on the bestselling book by Ben Macintyre which tells the story of how the world’s greatest Special Forces unit, the SAS, was formed under extraordinary circumstances in the darkest days of World War Two.

Here’s everything you need to know about the series, sure to become unmissable viewing, including the cast, trailer, plot, and more.

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What is the SAS Rogue Heroes release date?

SAS Rogue Heroes begins at 9pm on Sunday 30 October on BBC One, with all episodes then available on BBC iPlayer.

How many episodes are in SAS Rogue Heroes?

It will consist of six episodes.

Is there a trailer for SAS Rogue Heroes?

Yes, you can watch the trailer in full below:

The BBC ramped up the excitement for the new series with an extended full trailer for the series, which reveals a little bit more detail about the lead characters in the series.

The drama has been described as the "exhilarating story of renegade men taking monumental risks in extraordinary circumstances".

The trailer is soundtracked by a new version of The Stranglers' hit No More Heroes, performed by Skin, the lead singer of Skunk Anansie.

Is SAS Rogue Heroes a true story?

The incredible true story behind the formation of the world’s greatest Special Forces unit, the SAS, is gripping, tense, and perfect for a TV drama adaptation.

SAS Rogue Heroes was a bestselling book about the beginnings of the SAS written by Ben Macintyre (below), and has been adapted by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight as a major new drama series for BBC One.

Ben Macintyre Getty

An announcement about the series from BBC One tells us: “Cairo, 1941. 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.”

It’s also described as an “exhilarating story of renegade men taking monumental risks in extraordinary circumstances”.

Director of BBC drama Piers Wenger said: “Combining a fascinating, little-known story with all the intelligence and swagger that Steven Knight’s writing is known for, SAS Rogue Heroes will be like nothing we’ve seen before.”

SAS Rogue Heroes sounds like it has all the elements needed to keep us glued to our seats throughout the series.

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Who's in the SAS Rogue Heroes cast?

There are some big names in the cast, which is mostly made up of young actors to reflect the reality of the story.

Steven Knight said: “I’m really excited to be gathering together the very best of a new generation of British and International talent to tell this remarkable story.

“The people who are depicted and who did such extraordinary things were young, in their 20s, and we have made a conscious decision to cast people of the same age. 

“We enter this project with a spirit of adventure and believe our young and talented actors will do justice to this period of history.”

Connor Swindells – David Stirling

Connor Swindells stars as the injured young officer with a madcap plan about how to run a Special Forces unit.

Viewers will recognise him from roles in Sex Education and Vigil.

Connor Swindells in SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC/Kudos

He said: “I feel tremendously honoured to be joining this series with such a talented group of people.

“Portraying such an interesting man is incredibly exciting and I feel very lucky to be able to do so. It’s going to be an amazing ride.”

Jack O’Connell – Paddy Mayne

O’Connell is best known for his previous roles in Skins and The North Water.

He said: “I'm excited to be working on Steven Knight's bold and ambitious new project with a brilliant director and fellow cast members. 

Jack O'Connell in SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC/Kudos

“Playing the legend Paddy Mayne is an honour. I can't wait to get stuck into the challenge of telling this story.”

Alfie Allen – Jock Lewes

Alfie Allen in SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC/Kudos

Allen, brother of singer Lily Allen and the subject of her song Alfie, is now better known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Jojo Rabbit.

He was nominated for an Emmy for his eight-year role as Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones and was seen last year in the series White House Farm.

Sofia Boutella – Eve Mansour

Boutella joins the cast of up-and-coming talent from previous appearances in Atomic Blonde, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and the Amazon Prime series Modern Love, based on the New York Times column of the same name.

Sofia Boutella in SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC/Kudos

Dominic West – Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Wrangel Clarke

As one of the more established names in the cast, West will be best known to viewers from his starring roles in hit series The Wire and The Affair.

He also featured as Jean Valjean in the Andrew Davies TV adaptation of Les Miserables, and was recently in the Sky series Brassic for an 11-episode run. He's set to appear as Prince Charles - as he was then known - in The Crown season 5.

Dominic West in SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC/Kudos

The rest of the SAS Rogue Heroes cast is as follows:

  • Jason Watkins (McDonald & Dodds, The Crown) as Winston Churchill
  • Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk) as SAS founding member Mike Sadler. Now aged 102, Sadler is the only founding member of the SAS still alive today
  • Stuart Campbell (Baptiste) as Bill Fraser
  • Ralph Davis (Small Axe) as Alexander Norton
  • Bobby Schofield (Time) as Dave Kershaw
  • Virgile Bramly (Grand Hotel) as Georges Bergé
  • Tom Hygreck (La Garçonne) as André Zirnheld
  • Paul Boche (SOKO Potsdam) as Walter Essner
  • David Alcock as Jan Smuts
  • Moritz Jahn (Dark) as Herbert Brückner
  • Arthur Orcier (J'irai où tu iras) as Marc Halevy
  • Jordy Lagbre as Grapes
  • Adrian Lukis (Feel Good) as General Auchinleck
  • Anthony Calf (Poldark) as Stirling's father
  • Isobel Laidler (The Witcher) as Mirren Barford
  • Ian Davies (Game of Thrones) as Randolph Churchill
  • Amir El Masry (Industry) as Dr. Gamal
  • Theo Barklem-Biggs (The First Team) as Reg Seekings
  • Corin Silva (The Bay) as Jim Almonds
  • Jacob Ifan (Bang) as Pat Riley
  • Dónal Finn (Cursed) as Eoin McGonigal
  • Jacob McCarthy (The Last Summer) as Johnny Cooper
  • Michael Shaeffer (Chernobyl) as Lt. General Ritchie
  • Miles Jupp (The Durrells) as Major Knox
  • César Domboy (Outlander) as Augustin Jordan

What is the SAS Rogue Heroes plot?

The TV series begins in Cairo, 1941, when David Stirling (Connor Swindells) - an eccentric young officer, creates a radical plan that flies in the face of all accepted rules of modern warfare.

He builds a team of the "toughest, boldest and brightest soldiers" with the intention of causing mayhem behind enemy lines.

The group of eccentrics and rebels are both"flawed and reckless" and also "astonishingly brave and heroic".

 

SAS Rogue Heroes begins at 9pm on Sunday 30 October on BBC One, with all episodes then available on BBC iPlayer.