Wish Me Luck was created by Jill Hyem and Lavinia Warner, the duo behind Tenko, the acclaimed BBC drama about a group of women held captive in a Japanese POW camp during WWII.
Kate Buffery and Suzanna Hamilton star as Liz Grainger and Matty Firman, two civilians recruited by Colonel Cadogan (Julian Glover) and Faith Ashley (Jane Asher, pictured above) to the Outfit. Liz is a wife and mother whose husband is serving overseas and whose brother was killed in action. Matty is the strong-willed factory worker of Jewish decent, who fled France to England.
The organisation created for the series, the Outfit, was based on the real life organisation the Special Operations Executive, with much of the action and dialogue lifted from SOE member Nancy Wake’s autobiography The White Mouse. A leading figure of the maquis group of the French Resistance, she became the Gestapo’s most wanted person with a 5 million-franc price on her head. After the war she became the Allies most decorated service women. Proving her resilience, she died on 7 August 2011, at the great age of 98.
Carve their name
The series also has echoes of the classic British film Carve Her Name With Pride from 1958. Based on R.J. Minney’s book of the same name, Virginia McKenna (Born Free, A Town Like Alice) stars as SOE agent, Violette Szabo.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Joining the cast for season there and four is Catherine Schell as an agent called Dominique. These two series chronicled the Vercors rebellion which resulted in some towns and villages declaring freedom from the Germans. Schell’s other credits include On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Return of the Pink Panther, Doctor Who and Space: 1999.
Eagle-eyed viewers may spot a number of familiar faces amongst the cast. Playing a young Jewish girl called Sylvie in the fourth series is Shirley Henderson, famous for playing Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films. Play School presenter Stuart McGugan crops up as a regular in the second series, playing the character Gordon Stewart. Familiar TV names Warren Clarke and Jeremy Northam also feature.