SAS: Rogue Warriors

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SAS: Rogue Warriors

Series 1 - Episode 1



“A band of vagabonds” is how the man who formed the SAS described them. Here Ben Macintyre charts the unlikely story of how a bunch of “rogues and misfits” overcame appalling setbacks to establish what would become Britain’s most famous fighting unit.

There’s terrific footage of both the original desert-based training (jumping off the back of a truck going at 30mph, and so on) and from interviews in 1987 with many of the original L detachment Special Air Service Brigade. Part of the idea of the name, apparently, was to deceive the Germans in the Second World War: there was in fact no brigade – just 60 men who literally stole their desert gear (and a piano) from another regiment.

It’s a terrific tale, a sort of ragged Boy’s Own adventure, lit up by characters like the dashing Jock Lewes and the terrifying Paddy Mayne.


Ben Macintyre uses the SAS archives to examine the history of the British Army special forces unit combining documents, unseen footage and interviews with its founding members to tell the remarkable story behind an extraordinary fighting force. In the first edition, he looks at its formation in the heat of the north African desert in 1941, when eccentric young British army officer David Archibald Stirling had a vision for a new kind of war in which the enemy was attacked from behind their own lines.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Ben Macintyre
Director Matthew Whiteman
Executive Producer Eamon Hardy
Producer Matthew Whiteman