Sofia Boutella as Eve Mansou

Rapscallion Magazine TV Review: Incompetent toffs or SAS Heroes – take your choice but there’s only one reason to watch SAS Rogue Heroes and it’s not the soldiers

TV Review. BBC1 SAS Rogue Heroes: forget the explosions, the fist fights and the testorone fuelled action. There’s only one reason to watch SAS Rogues Heroes and that’s Eve Mansour’s wardrobe of stylish outfits.
While the chaps perspire and moan about the heat in the Sahara Desert, Eve remains cool, crisp and chic. It’s as if she has stepped out of an air conditioned mobile film unit – which she probably has.
Played by Sofia Boutella her outfits upstage the Karki clad heroes in Steven Knight’s gung-ho dramatisation of the birth of the elite group of troops.
Unlike many of the characters in the guns blazing series Eve is a fictional French spy although the producers assure us that Cairo was awash with Free French spies – some of them women.

Keeping cool in the desert

Eve Mansour is the deputy head of French intelligence in Cairo under General de Gaulle’s command and spends much of her time seducing Dominic West to find out what the Rogue Heroes are up to.
Out and about she wears long baggy high waisted pants in either mustard or turquoise with a belt often with a large ornate buckle detail mirrored with a similar but smaller broach securing her slim fitting cream blouse.
These trousers were very popular in the late 1930s and 1940s as Hollywood actresses showcased leisure clothing in fashion spreads in magazines.

Sofia Boutella as Eve Mansou as the Free French spy busy at work

Her ivory slim line sleeveless backless waisted full length evening gowns for the night club scenes have wide straps in the style of Vivien Leigh in the role of Emma, Lady Hamilton, in the 1941 film, That Hamilton Woman, designed by René Huber. Low back gowns were popular in the 1930s and considering the heat of Egypt must have been comfortable.

Stylish: Sofia Boutella as Eve Mansou

Although I enjoyed the bangs and bumps as the chaps created merry hell in the desert it was the costumes of created for Eve by designer Rachel Walsh who produced the most eye-catching aspect of the series.
Harry Mottram

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RAPSCALLION MAGAZINE TV Drama Review: wickedly rude snobs and candid one liners create high comedy in an adaption of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

Lily James as Linda and Emily Beecham as Fanny in The Pursuit of Love. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/Theodora Films Limited & Moonage Pictures Limited

So stylish, so funny and such terrible people. There was and is so much comedy in Nancy Mitford’s send up of posh people between the wars novel as her soul sisters Fanny and Linda engage in The Pursuit of Love – that the TV adaption in three parts can’t go wrong.

The BBC’s Sunday night drama directed by Emily Mortimer combined all the best one liners from the novel, added luxurious photography that lent towards slick neo nostalgia advertising in style, plus annotated graphics so we knew who was who, as the narrator Fanny described the chaotic but highly entertaining coming of age events of Linda Radlett in 1930s England.

Shot in Bath and Bristol part one gave us close friends Fanny (Emily Beecham) and Linda (Lily James) and their near unbearable lives in the gilded cage of the stately home of Alconleigh. Dominated by the frankly unhinged Father (Dominic West) the largely female family are brough up to have no education and to prefer fox hunting to books. It is from this background of shouting and domestic violence the teenage girls rebel and inevitably make all the wrong choices in their pursuit of suitors.

Instead of being stuck in the aspic of post-World War One Britain with its jazz and flappers the production embraced modern music and used photos and footage of the era to supplement the story. Mitford (not the Nazi one but the Socialist one) makes the novel a story of bitter sweet love and disappointment as opposed to the ideals of love but also a subtle take down of the upper classes and their arrogant contempt for all beneath them. Added to that its role as a piece of social history reminds us of how things have (or have not changed) and it is a masterpiece of literature and in the hands of the director of TV drama as well.

Harry Mottram

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Cast list from Wikipedia: