‘SAS Rogue Heroes’ reviews round-up: ‘Stylish wartime drama’ is ‘big, brash, witty’

The BBC’s new Second World War drama premieres this weekend!

SAS Rogue Heroes is inspired by the origins of the world’s greatest Special Forces unit, the SAS.

Created by Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight, the series is based on the best-selling book by Ben Macintyre.

Leading the cast are Connor Swindells (Sex Education), Jack O’Connell (Skins), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman).

They’re joined by Dominic West (Downton Abbey: A New Era), Miles Jupp (The Durrells), and  Jason Watkins (The Crown), with Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk) playing SAS founding member Mike Sadler.

Watch the trailer here:


The official synopsis reads: “Cairo, 1941. David Stirling (Connor Swindells) – 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.”

SAS Rogue Heroes begins airing in the UK at 9pm on Sunday 30th October on BBC One, with all six episodes then available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

We’ve rounded up a spoiler-free selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the series:


“Writer Steven Knight brings his A-game to this vividly realised and relentlessly enthralling account of the creation of the SAS … It is, at least to start with, a veritable romp, although the nasty, violent reality of life during wartime is unflinchingly portrayed when it needs to be.” ★★★★ – Empire


“This show about the formation of the SAS – from the brains behind the Shelbys, Steven Knight – is big, brash, witty and packed with energy. It’s Khaki Blinders, if you will … It is a bracing way to spend a Sunday evening, and, to borrow the parlance of one of its leads, a lot of fun, old boy.” ★★★★ – The Guardian


“The series will undoubtedly further fuel our nostalgic nation’s propensity for turning the second world war into the stuff of legend. It might elicit eye-rolls for its use of brash gimmicks. But the show’s spirit of adventure proves hard to resist, and there have been few scenes on TV this year as jolting and immersive as the mission sequence which opens the third episode … Ultimately, SAS Rogue Heroes has the makings of another hit for Knight and the BBC.” ★★★★ – Financial Times


“Steven Knight delivers another period cracker …  What inherently keeps the momentum going, beyond a slickly written script and uniformly solid performances, is a sense of fun which seems to permeate every moment of this show.” – Yahoo


“Steven Knight has a riot with this bombastic wartime saga … the Peaky Blinders creator adapts Ben Macintyre’s bestseller into a boys’ own hoot which playfully buys into the regiment’s mythic status.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph


“Fizzy, stylish wartime drama [has] more than a touch of the Boy’s Own adventure to it.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard


“Anyone expecting SAS Rogue Heroes to be a revolutionary exercise or an investigative character study should adjust their expectations accordingly. This is an old-fashioned story told with punky, modern set-dressings. It’s Peaky Blinders in a new set of clothes … But the dialogue is razor-sharp, the performances entertaining and the action well-staged. It’s exactly what Sunday nights have been missing and is sure to leave fans crying out for more.” – Radio Times


“It’s rare for a new TV drama to come roaring out of the blocks like a fully-formed beast, but there’s a swagger about SAS Rogue Heroes that’s hard to resist … even if war dramas aren’t your normal kit bag, give it a go.” ★★★★★ – Metro


“A BBC thriller that’s like a naff version of Inglourious Basterds … This is something of a prestige drama – albeit one imbued with a streak of deep tackiness that befits its title.” ★★★ – The Independent


SAS Rogue Heroes feels authentic and sensitively portrayed but with moments of comedy and modernisation. It’s an engaging story, shaped through a brilliant cast and all-out action, that captures the fearless moments of the SAS soldiers as they moved forward with reckless abandon.” ★★★★ – The Upcoming


SAS Rogue Heroes will launch in the US on cable network and streaming service Epix next month.

Ben Macintyre’s Rogue Heroes book is available on Amazon.