THE eagerly awaited new BBC drama series about the early days of the SAS exploded onto our TV screens tonight.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Ben Macintyre, SAS Rogue Heroes is a six-part dramatised account of how the famous regiment  – now based in Hereford – was formed under extraordinary circumstances in the darkest days of World War Two.


The first episode's opening sequence included text that told us the following was "mostly true".

There then followed a musical clip that was a stirring nod to that classic cinematic tale of eccentric British wartime heroes, The Great Escape.

The series' key characters were then introduced amid a blitz of violence and swearing that may not have been to all viewers' taste.

The assembly of fighters included the charismatic and rebellious David Stirling (played by Connor Swindells), the regiment's founder, who spent a significant portion of this evening's episode knocking back enough whisky to alone incapacitate a platoon of Nazis.

The sets, given the constraints of a TV budget, were convincing re-creations of north Africa in the 1940s, while the explosive scenes of air attacks on Tobruk reached close to Hollywood standards.

Given the need to introduce the leading characters, the action was limited in this first episode. But it seems certain that lots more derring-do is on the way. I, for one, will be tuning in next week (or dipping into part two on the iPlayer if I can't wait that long!).

SAS Rogue Heroes is on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday for the next five weeks, and is available on the iPlayer.

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