Peaky Blinders creator to write drama featuring SAS soldier Blair Mayne
The six-part drama is an adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s book SAS: Rogue Heroes.
A new BBC One drama about the early days of the SAS featuring an Ulster-born soldier will be brought to the screen by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.
Knight will adapt Ben Macintyre’s best-selling book SAS: Rogue Heroes for the series, which will tell the story of how one of the world’s most renowned and ruthless Special Forces came to exist.
Macintyre received privileged access to the secret SAS archives to write the critically acclaimed book, which was released in 2016.
It explored the revolutionary thinking which led to the new form of combat and warfare in the deserts of North Africa.
It's been reported that Tom Hardy is set to take on the role of Lieutenant Colonel Blair 'Paddy' Mayne, the Newtownards-born man who became a legendary SAS soldier.
Although cherished by many as Newtownards' most famous son, the depiction of Mayne in Macintyre's book paints a more controversial picture of a "brilliant soldier but a troubled soul with a very short fuse".
He went on to call the 17-stone Mayne, who was also celebrated for his exploits on the rugby field with Ireland and the British Lions, as "truculent, troubled, and dangerously unpredictable, particularly when drunk, which was often".
The project will see Hardy (39) reunited with Knight, from his days starring as gangster Alfie Solomons in Peaky Blinders.
The six-part series will celebrate “the glory, action and camaraderie at the heart of this story” and “will delve into the psychology of the flawed, reckless but astonishingly brave group of maverick officers and men who formed the SAS in the darkest days of WW2”, the BBC said.
Knight said: “This will be a secret history telling the story of exceptional soldiers who decided battles and won wars only to then disappear back into the shadows.
“We will shine a light on remarkable true events informed by the people who shaped them.”
Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, added: “It is an honour to be working once again with the great Steve Knight.
“SAS: Rogue Heroes will lift the lid on the origins of one of Britain’s most iconic institutions and explore the characters, courage and flaws of the men involved with all of the honesty and swagger we have come to expect from Steve.”
The series will be produced by Kudos, the makers of programmes such as Broadchurch, The Tunnel and Humans.
Kudos’ joint managing director Karen Wilson said: “The fact that this project has moved so swiftly from development to commission is testament to the power of this story and Steven’s unique ability to draw the extraordinary, complex men at its heart.
“Imagine them being drawn with the same colour, character and compassion as the iconic characters which feature across Steven’s work and you get a sense of the huge potential of this project.”
Casting for the drama will be announced in due course.
Knight has won acclaim for Peaky Blinders, which returns for its fifth series on Sunday.
He is also known for TV series Taboo and for being one of the co-creators of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.