In an emotionally charged episode of Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins, reality TV star Joey Essex opened up about his mother's suicide when he was aged ten.
He told how he had been left unable to trust in others ever since, adding:
"One day she was there and one day she was gone."
Joey, opening up on episode 3 of the Channel 4 show which aired on Monday night, spoke of the devastating moment his father had to break the news to him that his mother had died, saying:
"I opened the door and saw my dad kneel down.
"I remember him just grabbing my head and I remember him saying something along the lines of 'mummy's gone' and she's, you know ..."
At this point, Joey took some time to compose himself. He admitted that he only starting talking about his mother's suicide and saying the word Mum in the last three years. He said:
"I still didn't really understand ... and I remember saying to myself, 'No, she can't be gone, she can't be gone.'
"She'll come back, why would she leave me?"
In this episode of Channel 4's celebrity version of SAS Who Dares Wins, which is now available on the channel's All 4 catch-up service, the Directing Staff (DS) wanted to discover if Joey's difficulty in trusting people would make it hard for him to work together with fellow recruit, British Paralympic athlete Lauren Steadman.
Could all the celebrities put aside their individual goals and work together in a partnership?
Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and DS Foxy, Ollie, Billy and Jay, conspired together to pair half of the celebrity recruits up with their most interesting opponent or ‘oppo’.
The recruits must eat, sleep and operate as a duo as they are put through brutal tasks which include a night beasting, a gruelling mountain trek and a 60-metre paired abseil.
With a cull looming, the DS placed the celebrities under extra scrutiny to see who could put their individual instincts to one side and focus on their 'oppo'.
Don't Look Down
The first pair put to the test were Joey and Lauren.
The DS had been impressed by their performances so far. Going so far as to say that “they’re both front runners when it comes to fitness.”
They admitted that Lauren was a machine when it comes to physical challenges but, they were sensing conflict between the two which could either have been an incredible driving force or have negatively impacted them both.
Lauren, who was born with one arm, has set out to achieve her own personal goals throughout her life.
She took on the 60-metre paired abseil challenge with dogged determination but this time it was not just about her.
Could the athlete perform as successfully with Joey by her side?
After tentatively walking over the cliff's edge, they soon developed a rhythm and made it safely to the ground below.
However, unbeknown to the recruits, the DS were always watching and noticed the pair bickering.
Perhaps working as a team was not something they could master?
The DS decided to pour some cool water on the, by his own admission, 'aggressive', former boxer Tony Bellew by pairing him with Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson who they described as “calm and collected”.
They hoped this pairing would encourage Tony to simmer down a bit.
Since retiring from boxing, Tony has missed the buzz of walking to the ring and taking part in a fight but, there’s a big reason why he was adamant that could not happen anymore. He said:
“I know if I do fight I’m going to end up divorced and that definitely, definitely is not in the plan.”
After witnessing the intense physical interaction between former footballer John Fashanu and Drum N' Bass band Rudimental’s DJ Locksmith in last week's episode, the DS decided to pair them up to see how their relationship had been affected.
The DS were surprised by the level of aggression from John when they saw him hold DJ Locksmith in a chokehold during 'Murderball', a challenge which sees recruits fight for possession of a tyre. Billy said:
“When they were doing murderball, number four deliberately went after number six and not for the ball.
“When he had him down, he literally had his elbow in his neck.”
John refused to take part in the 60-metre abseil task, even though he did not want to let his ‘oppo’, DJ Locksmith, down.
Because of this failure, Ant gathered the recruits back at base to explain why they could not refuse a task. He said:
“That is the equivalent of refusing to soldier.
“We do not choose our war zones.”
Because of John’s decision to not take on the task, he was culled from the course. The 56-year-old found himself competing against recruits half his age and eventually, that age gap caught up to him. He said:
“I’m getting older and I’ve had to accept it but I’m thankful to get where I’ve got to in life.”
While back in the room where the recruits sleep together, Lauren became increasingly frustrated with Joey. The athlete tried to ensure that her ‘oppo’ did not wake up his fellow recruits, but this just irritated him as he felt as though he was not free to do anything.
Don't Drop The Kit
With a cull planned for the next day, the recruits had to prove themselves to the DS while taking on the most punishing endurance task on the course.
Foxy explained that to complete the task, they had to work in pairs to move a log and jerrycan (a metal container for carrying water) that weigh 100 kilograms combined and race six kilometres across the gruelling hills of the Isle Of Raasay in Scotland.
Added to that, the ‘kit’ of the log and jerrycan, needed to be treated with the utmost respect because, if this had been a real combat situation, what they were carrying could possibly have saved lives.
Initially, Lauren and Joey take the lead but eventually get overtaken by their fellow recruits. Constantly bickering with each other meant they lost their first-place position and their patience with each other.
Ant pointed out that the only way recruits could succeed as a Special Forces operative was by focussing 100% on the mission and learning to work together. He said:
“I may not get on with you on camp but when the job needs to be done, I will fight with you to the very end.”
TV presenter Helen Skelton and former Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole took first place followed quickly by Tony and Nikki in second.
Radio 1xtra DJ Yasmin Evans was paired up with DJ Locksmith for this challenge who showed what it’s like to support your ‘oppo’ by saying:
“You can do it. If it takes us all day, it takes us all day.”
The 1xtra star and Drum N' Bass musician completed the challenge almost an hour after the winning team which caused Ant to erupt with fury and threaten to get rid of the weaker recruits.
In the trucks on their way back to base, Lauren revealed that her relationship with Joey was breaking down fast. She said:
“Physically, this morning, I didn’t feel that broken but he is breaking me.
“If he gets me kicked off the course, I’ll knock him the f*** out.”
Foxy explained that healthy competition between oppos is great but that rivalry has a negative impact because recruits are there to support each other, not tear each other down. If outstanding soldiers aren’t team players, they’re simply not going to pass SAS selection he said.
A Rude Awakening
At 3:30am, the DS woke the recruits up to give them one last chance to prove they deserved a place on the course. Would the celebrities still work well in pairs when they are exhausted?
In one inspiring moment, viewers watched Hollyoaks actor Nikki, who weighs nine stone, carry Tony Bellew who weighs nearly 17 stone, in a fireman's lift. At first, it seemed like an almost impossible task, but they worked together and finished what was asked of them.
Once again, Joey and Lauren proved that working together was not something that came naturally to them. The British athlete was the more dominant of the pair. She said:
“You can’t be a daisy and hope to win a gold medal.
“You need to be aggressive. You need to be the raging bull.”
Foxy commented that Joey was being “bossed around a fair bit” by Lauren. Ironically, self-confessed aggressive former boxer Tony encouraged Joey to keep his cool.
To find out why temperatures were rising between Lauren and Joey, the DS asked to speak with them separately.
DS Jay explained why they all felt let down by Lauren. As Joey has pointed out previously, the 27-year-old athlete has a ‘Paralympian attitude’, one that is driven by her own individual goals. Special Forces do not have a choice about who they work with. Jay said:
“We don’t get the luxury of picking the person and I certainly haven’t in the past.
“I’ve worked with some right f****** b*******.”
A successful SAS selection course recruit must be a team player, not someone who barks orders at their ‘oppo’.
The rest of the recruits agreed that if Lauren and Joey could work together, they would outperform all of them.
Next, the DS asked to speak to Joey about why he was finding working with Lauren difficult.
It was at this point that Joey talked about his mother's suicide when he was aged ten and how the trauma had made him tougher inside.
The 29-year-old has only recently been able to talk about his mother’s suicide and say the word Mum out loud. He questions why, when she loved him, would she do that?
This has led to him finding it difficult to trust those around him. DS Billy praised Joey for talking about his experiences openly. He said:
“The worst thing you can do is let things fester because then they just get worse and worse.”
DS Foxy reminded him that the only way to make it through a trauma such as that was to be supported by other people.
This would hopefully allow him to trust others again.
Next week on Celebrity Who Dares Wins, on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday, the recruits are pushed out of their comfort zones by the DS to find out who is the weakest link.