Why Everyone Is Excited About The BBC’s New Wartime Drama SS-GB

BBC One has just launched a brand new, wartime drama series, and it’s got everyone talking. Hailed as the new, wartime, Downton Abbey, SS-GB launched on 19th February, and is based on a 1978 novel of the same name. The show portrays an alternate 1941 – one where Hitler and the Nazis have won the war, and are now ruling in the UK. Sounds pretty scary to us…

So what does SS stand for? Short for Schutzstaffel, it was a major
military organisation governed by Hitler and the Nazi party back in the
1930’s and 1940’s. The SS was responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jewish people in World War Two, and, when the war was over, it’s highest ranking officer was executed for crimes against humanity.

The BBC show depicts what the UK would have been like had Hitler and the SS taken control of Britain. The five-part series stars Kate Bosworth (Big Sur, Still Alice) and Sam Riley (Maleficent, On The Road), who play Barbara Barga and Detective Douglas Archer respectively.

Sam’s character beings the series looking into a murder investigation, while Kate’s character is a mysterious journalist at the New York Times – who hasn’t quite made up her mind whose side she’s on…

So what is this new wartime show all about, and just why is everyone so fascinated by it?

1. It shows a scary reality of what could have been…

Throughout the show, scenes depict popular British monuments adorned with Nazi signage, including swastikas, barricades, and German soldiers. A terrifying picture of what Britain could have looked like…

2. It shows what might have happened to the Royal family in that scenario…

In the series, former King George VI, who ruled during the Second World War, is being held captive in the Tower of London. In real life however, historians believe that Nazis may have got Edward VIII to reclaim the throne, having believed that he sympathised with many of their ideas.

3. It has a pretty exciting plot…

The show sees resistance beginning to brew against the Nazis and the SS for the British people, while Detective Douglas Archer aims to keep the peace between the two opposing sides. At the moment, Archer’s main storyline is investigating a murder that has taken place in this parallel universe, which is sure to lead to shocking discoveries…

4. It is based on real-life plans…

Len Deighton, author of SS-GB, has revealed to the Radio Times that the story is based on the real-life plans the Germans had for the occupation of England, should they have conquered in the war. At the time, rumours flew around that if successful, Hitler mainly planned to occupy the South of the UK – this portrayed in the TV series.

5. It was filmed in London – and at Buckingham Palace
In order to recreate a realistic vision of a capital city occupied by Nazi Germany, the show actually had to fill parts of London with German soldiers – namely, the Queen’s home, and The Mall. The show’s executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle said, “We tried to minimise the use of swastikas in public as far as we possibly could.

“We didn’t want anything to cause offence because it’s such evil imagery. We didn’t want to be playing with it, and we didn’t want to expose anyone to it either. When there were German soldiers on set, in between takes we covered them in ponchos.”

See the next episode on BBC One, Sunday nights at 9pm

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