The BBC’s television adaption of Len Deighton’s SS-GB (1978) sees Britain under German occupation. Operation Sea Lion has been a success. Winston Churchill is dead. An ailing King George is held prisoner by the Nazis. His wife and daughters have escaped to New Zealand. Neither the Soviets nor the United States have entered the war. A British government-in-exile is struggling to win diplomatic recognition.
The plot focuses on a Scotland Yard detective, Douglas Archer (Sam Riley), who is caught up in a rivalry between his two SS supervisors as well as a British Resistance plot to exploit competition between the Germany Army and the SS. (The title refers to the branch of the Nazi SS that controls Great Britain.)
The series gets off to a slow start. I’m not sure I would have been eager to watch Episode 2 if it wasn’t for the dieselpunk setting, but the story picks up steam after the pilot. Episodes 2 through 4 are well done. Episode 5, the finale, is a bit of a letdown, and I can’t say all the characters’ actions make perfect sense, but on balance the show is perfectly watchable.
Here are some pictures of London under Nazi rule. The reason for the Karl Marx banner is that the Nazis have agreed to exhume the philosopher’s body for reburial in Moscow.