SS-GB in a TV miniseries adaptation

Imagine the scenario: In 1940, the Germans landed near Ashford, Kent, overwhelmed the surprised and ill-prepared coastal defence forces and quickly advanced on London, which fell shortly after, following a short but fierce battle. The Operation Sea Lion was a success, though a British rear guard around Colchester slowed the German advance for long enough to enable Royal Navy ships to escape from Harwich harbour. Although the Battle of Britain continued for several few months, in 1941 the British Armed Forces surrendered, Winston Churchill was arrested, tried by a court-martial in Berlin and summarily executed, while King George VI was incarcerated in the Tower of London and Hitler held a victory parade in London.

That is the premise of SS-GB, a hotly anticipated BBC television drama adapted from Len Deighton’s dystopian, alternative history novel of the same name. The script for the 5-episode series has been penned by one of the UK’s most successful writing teams – Bafta award-winning tandem Neal Purvis and Robert Wade who have previously cooperated on five James Bond films from The World Is Not Enough to Skyfall.

Following the successful invasion of the British Isles, Hitler likely wouldn't be able to resist the temptation of staging a victory parade in front of Buckingham Palace.

Set in Nazi-occupied London less than a year after Britain’s surrender after the Germans won the Battle of Britain, SS-GB tells the story of British detective Douglas Archer, who finds himself working under the brutal SS in enemy-controlled London. When investigating what appears to be a simple black market murder, Archer is dragged into a much more dangerous game where the stakes are as high as the ultimate outcome of the Second World War.

The lead role in the upcoming television series has been given to British actor Sam Riley, who will be portraying Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer of Scotland Yard who in following up a routine murder case uncovers a web of intrigue involving British atomic weapons research secrets, which the Abwehr would be very keen to get their hands on. American actress Kate Bosworth will be starring alongside Riley as Barbara Barga, a shrewd American journalist who becomes inextricably linked with the murder case that Archer is investigating.

Far from being a formulaic dystopian affair, the series sets out to explore the dark recesses of human psyche and ambiguity of moral choices when it poses the question of how one would act if presented with the choice: conform to the new rules and collaborate with the enemy for sake of self-preservation, or refuse collaboration with the Nazis on principle, join the resistance, but in the process risk arrest, imprisonment, torture and death not only for oneself but also for one’s family.

The show is directed by highly-acclaimed German director Philipp Kadelbach, marking his first move into English-language filmmaking. The production began in October 2015 with filming taking place in Highgate Cemetery among other locations.

The SS-GB television mini-series is produced by Patrick Schweitzer and will air on BBC One later in 2016.