Where is SAS: Rogue Heroes filmed? Locations featured in the Steven Knight historical drama

The backdrops are as hot as the action

Jacob Ifan as Pat Riley, Stuart Campbell as Bill Fraser, Tom Glynn-Carney as Mike Sadler, Jacob McCarthy as Johnny Cooper, and Alfie Allen as Jock Lewes in SAS: Rogue Heroes
(Image credit: Rory Mulvey/BBC/Future)

The hotly anticipated series hasn’t let viewers down as they dive headlong into the action. Now everybody wants to know where the historical drama was filmed - we have the answers!

Steven Knight fans mourning the end of Peaky Blinders earlier this year, were excited to find out the famed screenwriter had another series in the works. SAS: Rogue Heroes came with a huge buzz surrounding it from the moment it was announced - the plot and stellar cast looked set to make it an instant hit. With the inevitable comparisons made between the series and its blood soaked gangster predecessor, the show is blazing its own trail and social media is alight with praise. With dusty and sun soaked backdrops for the action, the question on viewers’ lips is: Where is SAS: Rogue Heroes filmed? Read on for everything there is to know about the filming locations, and other exciting information about the show.   

Historical dramas are usually based on true events, and the true story (opens in new tab) behind SAS: Rogue Heroes is no different. The series Jack O'Connell portray one of the most decorated soldiers in history, leaving viewers asking about the real Paddy Mayne, and how did he die (opens in new tab)? To see more history come to life, The Crown season 5 (opens in new tab) release date is nearly here and covers a time period packed with Royal scandal. 

Where is SAS: Rogue Heroes filmed?

SAS: Rogue Heroes was filmed in the desert in Morocco, and Norfolk and Suffolk in the UK. 

With the series being set in 1940's Cairo, the cast and crew spent three months filming in a Moroccan desert. Executive producer of the show Karen Wilson, spoke to The Sun (opens in new tab) about the importance of filming in Morocco. She said "It was crucial to get to Morocco, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges. On top of Covid and feeling isolated, and all those things, they shut the border so we had to find a way to actually get our team into the country".

She added "In these sorts of situations talking about SAS, I become quite emotional because the team were our heroes. Everybody that got on that plane that went to Morocco knew they were going to be there for several weeks because we weren’t going to get them out again".

Pictures of Jack O'Connell having his makeup touched up on set in Morocco, were shared to Instagram. The actor plays Paddy Mayne in the series.

A member of the stunts team, Olly Lloyd, reported that crews were constantly removing scorpions and snakes from the sets, to keep them safe for filming. He spoke about temperatures sometimes rising to 53c and the challenges this presented. He said "We'd start very early in the morning and from there go through costume. That was providing we didn't get hounded by sandstorms - we'd be battling with sandstorms all day".

He added "You just crack on in the heat. You've just got to do what you're doing and do your job to the best of your ability. It was embodying the spirit of what the SAS went through at that time, we were living in the same conditions that they did."

Another Instagram post showed Jack O'Connell alongside Bobby Schofield as Dave Kershaw, shooting a scene in the desert. O'Connell is sporting a headscarf to protect him from the sun.

In Norfolk, filming took place at Elveden Estate near Thetford, which doubled as a hospital in Cairo. Show creators visited the Norfolk Military Vehicle Group for advice and procurement of historical vehicles. Group member Ian Clark was called upon for his expertise. 

He told The Eastern Daily Press (opens in new tab) "I got the call from the SAS in London about two years ago and they told me all about the series and said the producers were looking for advice on Jeeps, trucks and colours, and things like that. They were also looking for two or three Jeeps and a truck". He continued "One member of the group, Dave Knudson, has six of them so he sold them the Jeeps and then we helped to find them a truck. They then painted them in desert colours and another member, John Morter, found them a command car they were looking for".

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In Suffolk, crews set up at RAF Bentwaters near Tunstall. This location was used for filming shots of the desert camp, and some Jeep attacks. It was also reported that many of the plane shots were filmed at this location.

When was SAS: Rogue Heroes filmed?

Filming for SAS: Rogue Heroes began in March 2021, and took 3 months to complete. 

Jack O'Connell told the Radio Times (opens in new tab) the shoot was “the toughest one yet, and I don’t say that lightly”. He continued “What makes it worthwhile is what you have with your castmates and crew. And then you hope that what you’re doing it for is going to be conveyed on screen".

Connor Swindells was asked if making SAS: Rogue Heroes was anything like making Sex Education. He called the two “incomparable,” saying "Sex Education for the most part is me going to Wales a couple of times a week, saying absolutely nothing, pulling a funny face and then driving home. So being out in the desert was unbelievable. But, thankfully, I made great friends for life".

A video shared to Instagram showed some cast members in their trailer having makeup applied and dancing - they appear to have had plenty of fun while shooting the series.

SAS: Rogue Heroes: Soundtrack

As well as the filming locations, the show's soundtrack also has viewers talking. It features everything from AC/DC and Black Sabbath, to George Formby and Noel Coward. Here is a breakdown of all the tracks featured, episode by episode. 

Episode 1: 

  • If You Want Blood (you got it) – AC/DC
  • It’s A Hap Hap Happy Day – Arthur Askey, with Orchestra
  • Tigerty Boo! – Harry Roy and his band
  • Sing sing sing – Benny Gutman
  • Tawila – Taheya Carioca
  • Live Wire – AC/DC
  • A Hard Way – Black Sabbath

Episode 2:

  • Sing Sing Sing – Benny Gutman
  • Egyptian Reggae -Jonathan Richman
  • World War – The Cure
  • Shot in the Dark – AC/DC
  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Noël Coward
  • Eruption Borstal – Bill 69
  • Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  • Change Something Better – The Stranglers

Episode 3:

  • Sing Sing Sing – Benny Gutman
  • Hail, Hail, the Gang is All Here -DA Esrom, Arthur Sullivan
  • Out in the Middle East – George Formby
  • Slow Ride – Foghat
  • I Fought the Law – The Clash
  • Steel Wheels – Saxon
  • New Rose – The Damned
  • Smash It (Parts 1 & 2) – The Damned

Episode 4:

  • Sing Sing Sing – Benny Gutman
  • The Game (Triple H) [feat. Motörhead] -Jim Johnston
  • Born to Lose – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
  • Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  • Bless Them All – George Formby
  • Egg! Egg! Egg! – Cockney Refuses
  • Roll and Tumble – Cream

Episode 5:

  • Sing Sing Sing – Benny Gutman
  • Killing Machine – Judas Priest
  • Let’s not be mean to the Germans – Noël Coward
  • The Revolution – Les Sales Majestes
  • BUM – Karl
  • Oh! What a surprise for the Duce! – Florence Desmond
  • Totally Wired – The Autumn
  • Very Punky! – Violin

Episode 6:

  • Sing Sing Sing – Benny Gutman
  • Adolf – Arthur Askey
  • We Have to Fight – Bill 69
  • 1970 – The Henchmen
  • Overkill – Motorhead
  • Wish me Luck (as you wave goodbye) -Gracie Fields
  • If You Want Blood (You got it) – AC/DC

SAS: Rogue Heroes: Reviews

Currently, both audience and critic reviews for SAS: Rogue Heroes, are largely favourable. 

Rebecca Nicholson from The Guardian (opens in new tab) offered 4 out of 5 stars, saying "I thoroughly enjoyed SAS: Rogue Heroes. It is funnier than Peaky Blinders, which dragged itself into the doldrums for its final series, though this still has plenty of its predecessor’s vim. It is a bracing way to spend a Sunday evening, and, to borrow the parlance of one of its leads, a lot of fun, old boy. Indeed".

Boyd Hilton from Empire (opens in new tab), also offered 4 out of 5 stars. His view was "From the off, this series is everything you’d expect from a Steven Knight production. His signature punky tone is very much present and correct, marked by the use of thumping anachronistic, rock-tastic needle drops (AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ and The Stranglers’ ‘Something Better Change’ are particularly well deployed), splashy on-screen graphics, and punchy dialogue full of relentless profanity. Even the wording of the opening disclaimer is playful: “Based on a true story, the events depicted which seem most unbelievable… are mostly true”. As the series winds on, it becomes startlingly clear this is no idle boast, and Knight’s scripts revel in the Catch-22-style gallows humour of its often insane situations, while the big action set-pieces are skilfully handled by director Tom Shankland".

On Twitter, one viewer wrote "SAS: Rogue Heroes was in my top 5 most anticipated TV series of 2022, and it did not disappoint. All Hail Steven Knight and the brilliant cast of #SASRogueHeroes".

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Another fan followed up with "Only 15mins in & I can safely say I am HOOKED Jack O’Connell & Connor Swindells are phenomenal as always".

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