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Meet the cast of SS-GB

Who’s who in the BBC’s new dystopian drama

Published: Friday, 9th June 2017 at 2:00 pm

Imagine if Britain had lost the Second World War. If the Germans had won. If the Nazis occupied the majority of England and Wales.


BBC First’s new Sunday night drama SS-GB does just this, in an adaptation of the 1978 alternative history novel by Len Deighton.

SS-GB is set in a disturbing paralell reality in 1941, in an England and Wales which are under Nazi occupation having lost the Battle of Britain. It focuses on British Detective Douglas Archer who is forced to work under the brutal SS in occupied London.

There are pockets of resistance throughout Britain, but after a German pilot is murdered by a British Resistance fighter, tensions in London are higher than ever.

Archer is investigating a murder which drags him into a treacherous world where the stakes are as high as the ultimate outcome of the war.

The detective must deal with the following dilemma: Can he carry out his duty to defend law and order when he is working for the wrong side? And what is he willing to risk in the fight against fascism?

Sam Riley as Douglas Archer


British Detective Douglas Archer is forced to work under the brutal SS in occupied London. He can speak German, wears a trilby and smokes like a chimney.

“Archer has a young son. It’s very easy for people who don’t have children to resist the Occupation. But once you have a child – which I do in real life – it makes you ask whether you’d stick your neck out, or whether you would make sure your children are safe and hope it all blows over.” – Riley

Where do I recognise him from?

This is one of Riley’s first TV roles, after making several big film appearances. He played Ian Curtis in Control, the biopic of the Joy Division singer, and he was more recently in Maleficant alongside Angelina Jolie. You might have also seen him in On the Road and Brighton Rock.

Kate Bosworth as Barbara Barga

Bosworth plays an elusive American journalist who may be able to help Archer – if he can trust her. It’s a little bit ambiguous as to what side of the line she stands. A femme fatale from the 1940s, there’s definitely a bit of flirtation between her and Archer.

“The idea of 'What if the Nazis had won and infiltrated London? What would that have been like?' is fascinating. Whenever you have scenarios like this that are rooted in reality, it’s intriguing to people and terrifying as well. I liken it to a bullet whizzing by.” – Bosworth

Where do I recognise her from?

Bosworth is perhaps best known for playing Lois Lane in Superman Returns – but she’s also been in Still Alice and Blue Crush.

Maeve Dermody as Sylvia Manning

Archer’s lover endangers her life by bravely making a stand against the oppressive regime. She works in Archer’s office, but also in a cell infiltrating the Nazis.

“Sylvia’s motivation is deliberately hazy. She works in the moment. She’s fiery, impulsive and confused.” – Dermody

Where do I recognise her from?

Dermody has had a lot of TV roles, including minor ones in Ripper Street and Marcella to the more major as Vera in And Then There Were None.

James Cosmo as Harry Woods

Harry Woods is Archer’s partner at Scotland Yard, and is a safe pair of hands to accompany him on his investigations. He vehemently resents the Occupation but unlike Archer, he’s making his own secret stand against it.

“Some people still remember the Second World War. I remember sweetie rations – which I have been making up for ever since! But SS-GB will play an important role and have a big impact because it will remind people about the vital struggle of the war.” – Cosmo

Where do I recognise him from?

Cosmo is a veteran actor best known for playing Mr Renton in Trainspotting (and T2), Jeor Mormont in Game of Thrones, Campbell in Braveheart – and he even had a stint as Father Christmas in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. But reality TV fans saw him most recently on Celebrity Big Brother.

Lars Eidinger as Dr Oskar Huth

Huth is a Nazi – and a complex character full of contradictions.

“To be honest, as a German I am quite cautious with stories that take place during the Second World War because I think that artists who re-enact the Third Reich carry a great responsibility… I was very happy that SS-GB is not founded on historical facts, which makes it much easier to interpret it and frees you from the risk of falsifying history.” – Eidinger

Where do I recognise him from?

You might have seen him in the films Clouds of Sils Maria and Everyone Else. He also starred in the 2016 thriller Personal Shopper alongside Kristen Stewart.

Rainer Bock as Fritz Kellerman

Kellerman is a high-ranking Nazi officer who is now chief of the police of London. He loves the quintessentially British: tea-time, whiskey, tweed suits and fishing. But despite his frivolity he can be brutal.

“This is not the first time I’ve played a Nazi – that is a German actor’s positive dilemma in international productions. But I always try to find the human side of those characters and not to jump into the stereotype trap.” – Bock

Where do I recognise him from?

He played a Nazi in Inglorious Basterds, and you might have also seen him in War Horse, Unknown and A Most Wanted Man. He also had a very small role in Homeland back in 2015.

Aneurin Barnard as PC Jimmy Dunn 


Barnard works at Scotland Yard with Archer.

Where do I recognise him from?

You might have seen Barnard in Thirteen as Tim Hobson, War and Peace as Boris Drubetskoy and Cilla as Bobby. He was also in the films Citadel and Ironclad and is due to appear in the forthcoming war movie Dunkirk alongside Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance.

Louis Serkis as Douggie Archer


Archer’s son.

Where do I recognise him from?

Taboo! The son of actor and director Andy Serkis is currently in the Tom Hardy drama on Saturday nights, so many might be familiar with him as Cholmondeley’s apprentice in that. He was also the Young Hatter in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Kit Connor as Bob Sheenan


Douggie's friend.

Where do I recognise him from?

He was Petya Rostov in War & Peace – and also had a small role in Grantchester last year.

Christina Cole as Mrs Sheenan


Bob's mother.

Where do I recognise her from?


Cole was Dr Paula Agard in the US series Suits in 2015, and you might have spotted her as a receptionist in Casino Royale. She also appeared in one 2007 episode of Doctor Who as Lilith, a Carrionite who was banished to the Deep Darkness by the Eternals.


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