SS-GB: What time is it on TV tonight? Plus, watch the trailer for BBC One's new WW2 drama with Kate Bosworth

The new TV miniseries imagines Britain under Nazi occupation
The new TV miniseries imagines Britain under Nazi occupation Credit: BBC

First announced in 2014, alternative history series SS-GB finally arrives this week. The five-part drama imagines a version of Forties Britain under Nazi occupation, and looks set to be one of the TV highlights of the year. Here's everything you need to know about the series.

When is SS-GB on TV?

The first episode of SS-GB is on BBC One at 9.00pm on Sunday February 19, and will also be available to watch online via BBC iPlayer.

SS-GB׃ trailer Watch | SS-GB׃ trailer
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A chilling vision of Nazi London, based on an acclaimed novel

The series has been adapted from a 1978 thriller by historian and spy novelist Len Deighton, best known for his earlier novel The Ipcress File, which was turned into a film starring Michael Caine. 

The novel is set in an alternative 1941, after a Nazi victory in the Second World War. Churchill is dead, the King is imprisoned in the Tower of London, and the population are constant surveillance from the Third Reich.

Sam Riley as Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer Credit: BBC

The story follows Douglas Archer, a Scotland Yard detective trying to solve a murder case, who soon finds himself wrapped up in a much larger mystery, attracting the attention of the SS.

The Telegraph's original review praised the book as "more than a first class thriller", adding: "What makes it so memorable is its picture of occupied Britain – cold, dingy, depressed, stringently rationed and irrepressibly corruptible."

Two James Bond writers are running the show

The programme's creators, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, have co-written each of the last six 007 films. But speaking to The Telegraph's Robbie Collin, they explained that SS-GB's hero has less in common with Bond than with the browbeaten film noir detective Humphrey Bogart played in The Maltese Falcon.

Humphrey Bogart's character Sam Spade helped to inspire the protagonist of SS-GB Credit: AP

Wade added that viewers may find their alternative vision of Britain particularly timely: "It seemed very relevant in that it makes you think about our relationship with Europe, because our political views were largely forged by not having been beaten.”

Purvis added: "That question of what we’d do if the Nazis were outside our front door is one we’ve never had to answer. But it defines all other European politics – almost everyone else has had to deal with occupation of some sort. Some people collaborate, others don’t, and at the end the survivors have to pick up the pieces.”

It stars Sam Riley and Kate Bosworth

Kate Bosworth and Sam Riley in SS-GB Credit: BBC

The star of the show is Sam Riley, best known for playing troubled Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in 2007 biopic Control. More recently, Riley appeared as the  Speaking about his role in SS-GB, the 37-year-old said, "Archer is a compelling and complex character. He is a good guy struggling to reconcile his job as a policeman within the repressive Nazi machine.”

Kate Bosworth (known for 2014 drama Still Alice, and her turn as Lois Lane in 2006 film Superman Returns) will play Riley's main love-interest, a mysterious American journalist called Barbara Barga.