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. Find out who stars in it and who wrote it.

By Katie Archer Published: 30 October 2021 - 1.25am
BBC/Kudos Alfie Allen, Connor Swindells and Jack O'Connell in SAS: Rogue Heroes

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

He’s the man behind one of the BBC’s biggest drama hits, so expect edge-of-your-seat action and fascinating characters from his newest project.

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.

What is SAS: Rogue Heroes?

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.

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

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

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 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.

Dominic West in SAS: Rogue Heroes BBC/Kudos

In October 2021, Jason Watkins (McDonald & Dodds, The Crown) was announced as being in the cast alongside Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk) who plays SAS founding member Mike Sadler.

Stuart Campbell (Baptiste), Ralph Davis (Small Axe), Bobby Schofield (Time), Virgile Bramly (Grand Hotel), Tom Hygreck (La Garçonne), Paul Boche (SOKO Potsdam), David Alcock, Moritz Jahn (Dark), Arthur Orcier (J'irai où tu iras), Jordy Lagbre, Adrian Lukis (Feel Good), Anthony Calf (Poldark), Isobel Laidler (The Witcher), and Ian Davies (Game of Thrones) will all play key roles across the series.

Previously-announced cast members include Amir El Masry (Industry), Theo Barklem-Biggs (The First Team), Corin Silva (The Bay), Jacob Ifan (Bang), Dónal Finn (Cursed), Jacob McCarthy (The Last Summer), Michael Schaeffer (Chernobyl) and Miles Jupp (The Durrells).

SAS: Rogue Heroes release date news

Filming has now been completed, and it has been confirmed the series will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in 2022. We'll update this page when we have a confirmed release date.

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