Fans of brilliant war series such as “Band of Brothers” or “The Pacific” are in for a treat, as the BBC will be producing a television miniseries about the birth of the renowned Special Air Service (SAS).
The new television series will explore the inception, establishment, and initial years of the famous special operations unit. Based on the best-selling book “SAS: Rogue Heroes” by British journalist Ben Macintyre, the series will showcase the unit’s daring operations during the North Africa campaign (1941-1943). If the miniseries is successful enough, presumably subsequent seasons will explore the SAS’ role in the Italian and Western European campaigns.
In an interview with the London Times, Steven Knight, the screenwriter for the new series and creator of “Peaky Blinders” (a popular BBC historical/crime drama), said the new SAS miniseries “will be a secret history telling the story of exceptional soldiers who decided battles and won wars only to then disappear back into the shadows.”
Tom Hardy, the famous British actor who has starred in films such as “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Dunkirk,” will play Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne. A legendary figure in the annals of special operations history, Lt. Col. Mayne was one of the most decorated British soldiers of the Second World War, with an astounding four Distinguished Service Order (DSO) awards. The award is the second-highest medal following the Victoria Cross; the U.S. equivalent would be the Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, and Distinguished Service Cross. Among his extraordinary feats of arms, Lt. Col. Mayne has been credited with destroying 47 Axis aircraft in a single raid and assaulting a heavily fortified village in an unarmored Jeep.
Martin Haines, joint managing director for the Kudos production company, said in a statement to Esquire that “the sheer scale of the adventures brilliantly told by Ben, and the extraordinary and varied characters involved, make this an incredibly exciting project. With Steven on board we have the opportunity to redefine the genre completely. We will shine a light on remarkable true events informed by the people who shaped them,” added Knight.
The SAS was established in 1941 after some innovative persuasion by then-Lieutenant David Stirling. Alongside the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), a special reconnaissance and raiding unit, the SAS spread havoc against the Afrika Korps’ logistics lines and rear echelons.
The BBC has not commented on a possible release date for the miniseries.