Friday, 17 February 2017
Blighty is under German rule in this taut thriller
Written by Ben FelsenburgOh goodo, a wartime drama. Cue wide-brimmed hats and vampish frocks, staccato dialogue, lots of smoking and heroic derring-do against the Nazis. Only in SS-GB (Sunday, BBC1, 9pm) the heroics are over and the Nazis have won.
The BBC brings Len Deighton’s alternate-history thriller to life with imagination and the occasional arresting, sensational shock, most of all the sight of a bombed-out Buckingham Palace as the story opens in 1941. Police detective Douglas Archer (Sam Riley) would in ordinary times be the dashing embodiment of Brit grit, but ‘Archer of the Yard’ has fallen into the uncomfortable position of solving crimes while answering to his German masters.
To make matters stickier still, he is caught between two different bosses, each the mortal enemy of the other: Kellerman is the relaxed sort of Nazi who seems less interested in ideology than a constant supply of cigars, booze and girls; while huth is the heel-clicking type from berlin who embodies teutonic perfectionism. Archer is torn, too, between two women: a resistance fighter, and an American journalist who knows far more than she’s letting on about the murder in Shepherd’s Market that sets the mystery rolling.
Swathed in seductive style and rich with twists and turns and speculation, the five-part series is instantly addictive, and there are moments to chill the bone, not least two blase British schoolboys as eager to be given Gestapo badges as if they were simply collecting stamps.
NOT TO BE MISSED...
THE LAKE DISTRICT: A WILD YEAR BBC2, Fri, 9pm
Snow, sun and the lambing season: a year is caught on camera in a beautiful film that makes magical use of time-lapse cinematography.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? BBC1, Weds, 8pm
Actress Sunetra Sarker travels from her birthplace of Liverpool to discover her family roots in Bangladesh.
HAS POLITICAL CORECTNESS GONE MAD? C4, Thurs, 9pm
A provocative polemic from racial campaigner Trevor Phillips, railing for freedom of speech against the censorious spirit of our age.