Reality TV star Joey Essex and YouTuber Jack Maynard are two of the celebrities facing the challenge of the brutal SAS selection process for another series of Channel 4's SAS Who Dares Wins.
Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his Directing Staff (DS) of Foxy, Billy, Ollie and newest member Jay, are in charge as the celebrities leave their glamorous lifestyles behind for eight days of gruelling challenges designed to push them beyond their mental and physical limits. Ant said:
“As Special Forces Operators we work in the shadows. The celebrities work in the limelight.
“Once we take the limelight away, we take their egos away and we pull that pedestal from underneath them, are they disciplined enough to deal with that?”
VIDEO: Channel 4
Just like the previous series of SAS Who Dares Wins, the celebrities, including TV personality Katie Price, Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson and Rudimental DJ, Locksmith, will live together in a derelict farmstead on the remote Scottish island, Isle of Raasay.
There, they will be exposed to Scotland’s unforgiving weather and volatile seas. TV star Katie Price’s career started in the glamour industry when she was 17, a million miles away from the harsh landscape of the Isle Of Raasay. She said:
“Mentally, I’ve come across all obstacles. I got to the point where I nearly had a break down last year.
"But do you know what, I dealt with it. Why? Because I wanted to.”
Before we’ve even seen them settle into their new accommodation, the celebrities are tasked with completing a 50-metre free fall from an overhanging cliff face.
The first celebrity to take on the daunting task is former boxing champion, Tony Bellew. He has achieved a great deal in his career but, that doesn’t stop him from having fears. He said:
“I’ve done everything I could have possibly dreamed of doing and more, to be honest.”
However, even a British, Commonwealth, European and World champion has fears that can hold him back. He said:
“I’m scared of heights, just being up high. I don’t like looking down over things. It scares the s*** out of me.
“Everyone has demons, just how can you manage them?
“I used to manage mine by punching people in the face.”
Lauren Steadman is a British Paralympic athlete who is a three-time world champion, seven-time European champion and she won a silver medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. The 27-year-old competes in both swimming and the para-triathlon and doesn’t let having one arm stop her from achieving anything. She said:
“Having one arm has actually made me the girl I am today.
“I doubt I would have travelled the world, raced for my country, brought home gold medals had I had two hands.
“Like, I don’t want two hands.”
The world-class athlete admits there are limits and barriers due to her disability but, she’s not about to let SAS Who Dares Wins be one of them. She said:
“I haven’t found anything yet that’s actually been a challenge that I haven’t been able to get round and I’d be so frustrated if there was something I couldn’t do.”
Be Prepared For Anything
Once the recruits make it to their base, the DS order them to prepare their bergens (military standard backpacks) for the next day and to always ensure their water bottles are full. Ant said:
“As a Special Forces Operator, you have to be prepared and ready for absolutely anything.
“You could be on a mission for what you think is a couple of hours and you end up on there for two or three days without food, without water.
“Your preparation and planning for self-survival has to be on point.”
At 1am, the recruits are called out to the parade square and asked to line up. Ant asks recruit three Katie to take out her water and squeeze it to show how full it is. He doesn’t hold back his frustration when no water spills out of the top. He said:
“It’s an absolute f******* shambles.
“I’ve spoken about discipline and attention to detail, those two things that separate us from the rest.”
To punish Katie for not filling up her water bottle, the DS beast all the recruits and make it incredibly clear that her carelessness is the reason. Once the tired recruits return to their beds, former boxer Tony walks with Katie to the toilets to encourage her to "switch on” when she’s with the DS. In a moment of compassion he said:
“They’re going to target you, to get to us and I don’t want to see no one turning on you, love.”
The DS decide to bring Katie in for questioning. They want to break down the glamorous barrier the media has built up around the former model and discover what her life is like now. They soon find out that she can’t stop speaking but, at least she’s able to talk about the most recent trauma that saw her admitted to a private mental health hospital, The Priory last year.
She lists a series of things that have caused her real pain and anguish over the past year in a matter-of-fact manner. The DS notice this and ask her how she can mention, for example, that she and her family were held at gunpoint in South Africa without showing any emotion. She explains how she has managed to cope with all the drama in her life:
“I have to be the strong one, that’s why.
“When I got told my son was blind, what am I going to do, just sit in the corner and cry?
“You can’t, you’ve just got to get on with life, you’ve got to deal with it.”
Later, Katie describes what happened to her and her children while driving in South Africa. Her son Junior needed to go to the toilet so, they stopped their car and as soon as they got out their lives flipped upside down. She said:
“Six guys pulled up in a car, guns, telling us to get in the car, robbed us, hit us.
“It was like a bad dream, just waiting to be shot and killed.”
Who Thinks They’ve Got What It Takes?
The DS ask the recruits to stand in order of who they think are the strongest and weakest recruits. Without hesitation, Katie responds to how many times she has been called out by Ant and immediately puts herself as the weakest recruit. Joey, Tony, Locksmith and Brendon volunteer themselves as the strongest. The next brutal challenge is designed to test that theory.
Can the ‘strongest’ recruits show restraint when asked not to punch back during hand to hand combat? Do they have the discipline needed to be a Special Forces operator?
The DS task the ‘weaker’ recruits to "pummel the f****** s***” out of their opponent.
If they fail to impress, the DS will allow the recruits unable to fight back to punch in order to defend themselves.
Joey, Brendon and Locksmith show the necessary discipline to pass the challenge. Joey took up boxing as a child and really enjoyed it and Locksmith was forced to defend himself several times growing up. He said:
“There was a lot of gang culture when I was growing up.
“I got rushed by about five guys, one had a baseball bat.
“I won’t shy away from a fight.”
The final recruit to have to defend himself without fighting back is former boxer Tony, who admits he misses “punching people in the face” and that he has an aggressive side that he thinks is under control.
The DS ask the eight “weakest” recruits to fight Tony. This turns into a relentless torrent of punches which Ant eventually stops when Tony lashes out. He shouts at Tony to control his aggression and the challenge is over.
"I Just Feel Like I Can Be A Horrible **** Sometimes."
The DS sense a lot of frustration from world champion boxer Tony. They ask him to explain how he feels since retiring and whether he's managing to successfully control his aggression? Tony explains he can't describe how he feels without sounding like a "maniac". He said:
"I just feel like I can be a horrible **** sometimes.
"I just think some f****** horrible things."
Ant said he was exactly the same when he left the military and he ended up in prison for 14 months. He warns Tony that a simple moment like being pulled over by the police for speeding could also land Tony in prison for committing the unthinkable. He said:
"You're going to cause some f****** damage.
"You're going to potentially kill someone and ... you're going to end up being locked up for a long time."
Watch Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4 in the UK and via BFBS TV