Review: SS-GB (S1 E5/5), Sunday 19th March, BBC1

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(C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd – Photographer: Laurie Sparham

I approached the finale of SS-GB, the good-looking conspiracy thriller, with some optimism just about intact. There had been flickers of life in this stodgy tale of alternative history, but so often when things threatened to spark they petered out and sunk into drudgery. Gorgeous-looking drudgery, mind. Still, it was the finale and there seemed to be a lot to fit in: would Archer and Harry manage to escort the infirm King out of the country? How would Britain rid themselves of the occupying Nazis?

NB: Spoilers inside Continue reading

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Review: SS-GB (S1 E4/5), Sunday 12th March, BBC1

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(C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd – Photographer: Screen Grab

SS-GB has been shedding viewers by the week and has been taking a pasting on Twitter (too mumbly, too whispery and too ‘what on earth is going on?’). I can kind of see why people haven’t warmed to this because it is slow and sludgy, and highly convoluted with a labyrinthine plot, all played out at a snail’s pace and in dark rooms with lots of men whispering. At least at the end of episode three there was at least an exterior piece of action – that of a Resistance bomb at Highgate Cemetery during an exhumation of Marx’s tomb. Now it was retribution and revenge on the Nazi’s part.

NB: Spoilers Continue reading

Review: SS-GB (S1 E3/5), Sunday 5th March, BBC1

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Programme Name: SS-GB - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 3) - Picture Shows: Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer (SAM RILEY) - (C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd - Photographer: Laurie Sparham

(C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd – Photographer: Laurie Sparham

After last week’s episode finale, where young PC Jimmy Dunn was found dead in Archer’s old family house, murdered by the Resistance, it was clear that our dashing detective of The Yard was being severely tested. On the one hand he was working closely with ruthless SS man Huth and was expected to report to him on any developments in the Spode murder case, while on the other the Resistance also wanted Archer on their side. And they were willing to kill to ensure his loyalty. So Archer was slap-bang in the middle of two ruthless factions, not sure where to turn and not liking one bit of it.

NB: Spoilers inside
Continue reading

Review: SS-GB (S1 E2/5), Sunday 26th February, BBC1

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WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 21/02/2017 - Programme Name: SS-GB - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Barbara Barga (KATE BOSWORTH), Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer (SAM RILEY) - (C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd - Photographer: Laurie Sparham

(C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd – Photographer: Laurie Sparham

The first episode of SS-GB was an unsettling look at what Britain would look like if the Allies had lost World War II. London was cloaked in Swastikas and echoed with the sound Gestapo boots, its population starting to feel the full force of oppression. In the middle of it all was DS Douglas Archer (Sam Riley), at the start just trying to keep his nose clean and get on with the job. But as the episode wore on Archer was being drawn into an ever more dangerous position, at once scrutinised by newly arrived SS man Huth and courted by the Resistance. It was a noir story with a twist (that of alternate history), and one that continued to intrigue and unsettle in equal measure. Continue reading

Review: SS-GB (S1 E1/5), Sunday 19th February, BBC1

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WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 31/01/2017 - Programme Name: SS-GB - TX: n/a - Episode: SSGB - Early Release (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Episode 1 Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer (SAM RILEY), Harry Woods (JAMES COSMO) - (C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd - Photographer: Screen Grab

(C) Sid Gentle Films Ltd – Photographer: Screen Grab

Let it be known that anything set in the mid-20th century will be watched and no doubt loved in this house. I love the aesthetics – the clothes, the furnishings, the language – which basically means that I could and would watch someone piss into a pot for an hour if it was set in the 30s, 40s, 50s or early part of the 1960s. Thankfully, this glossy five-adaptation of Len Deighton’s terrifying story of ‘alternative reality’ has a lot more to say for itself than pot-pissing, and the fact that it depicts an occupied London in 1941 after the Nazis won the war gives it a strangely topical element, especially as our own strands of reality have mingled to fractious effect.

NB: There are spoilers inside Continue reading

Interview: Kate Bosworth, SS-GB

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624As if you didn’t know, the next big, BBC1, Sunday-night drama is a four-part adaptation of Len Deighton’s SS-GB, which presents a classic noir set in 1940s Britain, where the Nazis defeated the Allies and now occupy the country. Sam Riley plays Detective Douglas Archer, while American actress Kate Bosworth plays a classic femme fatale – a mysterious US journalist who may or may not be what she seems. We managed to get hold of an interview with Bosworth, which you can read after the jump. Continue reading

Interview: Sam Riley, SS-GB

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624Sam Riley first came to my attention when he burst onto the scene playing Joy Division’s tragic lead singer Ian Curtis. Now the 37-year-old makes his television debut in the BBC’s adaptation of Len Deighton’s alternative reality noir, SS-GB, which starts on Sunday. Riley plays Detective Douglas Archer, a man trying to do his job in popst-war London… except in this story, the war was lost by the Allies and London (and the UK) is under the control of the Nazis. We managed to get a hold of an interview with Riley, which you can read after the jump. Continue reading