The BBC's latest flagship drama kicks off this weekend, promising intrigue, murder, a touch of sex and a whole lot of jackboots in Whitehall. Based on Len Deighton's alternative history novel, 'SS-GB' imagines that Germany won the Battle of Britain and implemented Hitler's plan to invade the UK. They've been successful, and now ordinary Brits are being forced to knuckle under. Our sort-of-hero is metropolitan policeman Archer - played by an impressively hatted Sam Riley - whose investigation into the death of a British resistance operative attracts the attention of the SS, who send high-ranking officer Huth (Lars Eidinger) to offer Archer some, ahem, encouragement...
It'd be a joy to report that 'SS-GB' is as gripping as 'Sherlock', as handsome as 'The Crown' or as entertainingly silly as 'Taboo', but that's not really the case. Eidinger is lots of fun as the ultimate snarling SS villain, a Teutonic maniac whose every other word is an order, and its lovely to see 'Game of Thrones' star James Cosmo (aka Lord Commander Mormont) as Archer's fusty old partner on the force. But overall, it's just a bit slow and dusty, and Riley's decision to employ a growling tough-guy accent that renders half his dialogue inaudible is just plain weird.
'SS-GB' launches on BBC1 this Sunday at 9pm, and alternative history buffs, Sam Riley enthusiasts and fans of stylish headwear are going to get a big kick out it. For everyone else... well, let's hope the pace picks up in episode two.