SS-GB (TV series)

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Series title over a swastika and a leaden sky of fighter planes
Created by Len Deighton
Based on SS-GB
by Len Deighton
Written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade
Directed by Philipp Kadelbach
Composer(s) Dan Jones
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 5
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Patrick Schweitzer
Location(s) London, England, UK
Cinematography Stuart Bentley
Editor(s) David Blackmoore
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Sid Gentle Films Ltd
Distributor BBC Worldwide
Original network BBC One
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 19 February (2017-02-19) – 19 March 2017 (2017-03-19)
External links
BBC website

SS-GB is a 2017 British drama series produced for the BBC[1] and based on the 1978 novel of the same name by Len Deighton. It is set in a 1941 alternative timeline in which the United Kingdom is occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.


In this alternative world, it is November 1941, nine months after a successful German invasion of Britain. Douglas Archer, a highly successful Scotland Yard detective, is working under a German superior. As a homicide detective, Archer avoids involvement in political crime. He views resistance as pointless and hopes the German occupation will end soon.[2]

Winston Churchill has been executed. King George is a prisoner and has not been seen in public for some time. His wife and his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret escaped, while the Duke of Windsor, who had earlier abdicated as Edward VIII, is in exile. A British government in exile led by Vice-Admiral Conolly exists but is not recognised by the US. Nazi Germany has also maintained friendly relations with the Soviet Union. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov has just flown in to oversee the removal of the body of Karl Marx to the Soviet Union.

A routine murder investigation becomes political when it turns out that the victim had data on British efforts to produce an atomic bomb. The resistance appear to have killed the man. Archer also finds himself working under an SS man sent from Berlin. He is valued because he speaks fluent German, though he does not sympathise with Nazism. He had volunteered to fight in the war, but was in a reserved occupation. His wife was killed by a German bombing raid. His son is being cared for by his landlady, whose husband was a soldier and is still a prisoner of war. His secretary and girlfriend Sylvia Manning is a member of the resistance and has to flee early in the first episode.


In November 2014, it was announced that the BBC had commissioned writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to adapt Len Deighton's novel SS-GB.[3]

In August 2015, it was announced that Sam Riley was in talks to star in the lead role of Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer of Scotland Yard.[4] Riley's casting was confirmed in late September 2015.[5]

Production began in October 2015 and ended in January 2016. The series was produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd. It was broadcast on BBC One in five one-hour episodes, between 19 February 2017 and 19 March 2017.

The series filmed various scenes for episodes one to four at the Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent. The location was used as a double for London streets and the mortuary that featured in episode one.[6]


Allied and Resistance characters[edit]

German characters[edit]


Series 1 (2017)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [9]
11"Episode 1"Philipp KadelbachNeal Purvis and Robert Wade19 February 2017 (2017-02-19)8.68
22"Episode 2"Philipp KadelbachNeal Purvis and Robert Wade26 February 2017 (2017-02-26)5.54
33"Episode 3"Philipp KadelbachNeal Purvis and Robert Wade5 March 2017 (2017-03-05)4.30
44"Episode 4"Philipp KadelbachNeal Purvis and Robert Wade12 March 2017 (2017-03-12)3.79
55"Episode 5"Philipp KadelbachNeal Purvis and Robert Wade19 March 2017 (2017-03-19)3.54


The series received highly positive reviews[10] with the Telegraph giving the series 4 out of 5 and saying that the "alt-history thriller deserves a follow-up series".[11] The main criticisms were predominantly regarding the sound quality and reportedly inaudible dialogue for some viewers in the first episode, which the BBC offered to "look at" for future episodes.[12][13]

The first episode achieved good overnight ratings, with over 8 and a half million viewers tuning in. However, as the series went on, ratings gradually fell, with only 3 and a half million watching the final episode.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (10 February 2017). "SS-GB's dystopian parallel universe – a drama for our time". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  2. ^ [1] Review of the TV series and novel
  3. ^ "James Bond Writers to Adapt Len Deighton Novel 'SS-GB' for BBC". Variety. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Sam Riley In Talks To Star, Philipp Kadelbach On Board To Direct James Bond Scribes' Purvis And Wade's 'SS:GB'". Deadline Hollywood. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Maleficent and Control star Sam Riley to play the lead in new BBC Nazi thriller SS:GB". London Evening Standard. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office SS-GB Article". 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Sam Riley and Kate Bosworth take the lead in ambitious new BBC One Drama SS-GB". BBC. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "BBC - SS-GB - Media Centre". 
  9. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes".  (Search relevant dates for figures.)
  10. ^ "SS-GB: Miniseries - Rotten Tomatoes". 
  11. ^ Rees, Jasper (19 March 2017). "SS-GB, episode 5, review: alt-history thriller deserves a follow-up series" – via 
  12. ^ "SS-GB: BBC to 'look at' sound levels after mumbling complaints". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Weaver, Matthew (19 February 2017). "'I will mumble this only once': BBC's Nazi drama SS-GB hit by dialogue complaints". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 

External links[edit]