Jack O’Connell as Paddy Mayne in the final episode of SAS Rogue Heroes Photograph: Rory Mulvey/BBC/Kudos
This brilliant series from the Peaky Blinders creator might be a high-octane, action-packed riot – but it’s also tender, touching and funny. Its finale will not disappoint
Idid not expect SAS Rogue Heroes to be as much of a blast as it has turned out to be. Obviously, anything by Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight is unlikely to be a snoozefest, but this high-octane series has been a total triumph. Each of the five episodes has ramped up the pace, the heart and the drama so much that I found myself not only hooked on the on-screen antics of the nascent Special Air Service, but also reading about the real-life history behind the show (adapted from Ben MacIntyre’s book of the same name) to find out which of the details are “mostly true”, as the cheeky disclaimer at the start has it.
As the final episode reports for duty (Sunday 9.15pm, BBC One) – though if you’ve managed to avoid gobbling up the lot on iPlayer, you have more self-control than me – we have “only the dreamer and the madman left”. The elite group of French paratroopers who have joined the SAS in the desert were supposed to have been trained by Paddy Mayne, but as Mayne is often a man who “needs to be put in a fucking cage”, the programme did not go as smoothly as hoped. Nevertheless, there are more airstrips to be destroyed, if the tide of the war has any chance of turning, and these men are ready to repeat their attacks. “Go. Kill. Return. Go again,” as David Stirling (Connor Swindells) puts it.