Connor Swindells, Jack O’Connell, Alfie Allen and Dominic West will star in the new TV series from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.
Sex Education actor Swindells will play eccentric young officer David Stirling in the BBC’s SAS: Rogue Heroes, an adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s best-selling book offering a dramatised account of how the SAS was formed during the Second World War.
Skins star O’Connell will play Paddy Mayne, while Game Of Thrones actor Allen will appear as Jock Lewes.
The Wire star Dominic West will play Lieutenant Colonel Wrangel Clarke.
The series, set in Cairo in 1941, will also star Kingsman actress Sofia Boutella, Industry’s Amir El Masry and Carnival Row actor Theo Barklem-Biggs.
The show meets Stirling while he is in hospital after a training exercise went wrong.
Convinced that traditional commando units do not work, he creates a radical plan that flies in the face of all accepted rules of modern warfare and fights for permission to recruit the toughest, boldest and brightest soldiers for a small undercover unit that will create mayhem behind enemy lines.
Swindells said: “I feel tremendously honoured to be joining this series with such a talented group of people.
“Portraying such an interesting man is incredibly exciting and I feel very lucky to be able to do so. It’s going to be an amazing ride.”
Knight, who is also responsible for the TV series Taboo and the recent adaptation of A Christmas Carol, as well as movies Locke and Serenity, said: “I’m really excited to be gathering together the very best of a new generation of British and international talent to tell this remarkable story.
“The people who are depicted and who did such extraordinary things were young, in their 20s, and we have made a conscious decision to cast people of the same age.
“We enter this project with a spirit of adventure and believe our young and talented actors will do justice to this period of history.”
The six-part series will be made for BBC One by production company Kudos, which is responsible for Spooks, Broadchurch, and Humans.
It will be directed by The Serpent’s Tom Shankland.
Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, said: “Combining a fascinating, little-known story with all the intelligence and swagger that Steven Knight’s writing is known for, SAS: Rogue Heroes will be like nothing we’ve seen before.
“It’s no surprise that a cast of such high calibre have signed up to bring these bold, brilliant and thoroughly entertaining characters to the screen.”