SAS Who Dares Wins Jungle Hell Series 8 Vietnam new Chief Instructor Billy Billingham CREDIT Channel 4
SAS Who Dares Wins' new Chief Instructor Billy Billingham wishes the military would be more supportive of the show (Picture: Channel 4).
TV

'Our biggest critics are the military', SAS Who Dares Wins' Billy Billingham says

SAS Who Dares Wins Jungle Hell Series 8 Vietnam new Chief Instructor Billy Billingham CREDIT Channel 4
SAS Who Dares Wins' new Chief Instructor Billy Billingham wishes the military would be more supportive of the show (Picture: Channel 4).

The biggest critics of hit TV show SAS Who Dares Wins are from the military community, according to Billy Billingham, who has taken over as chief instructor in the latest series.

Billy says it's a "sad fact", and, both he and Chris Oliver, who has joined as the newest member of the directing staff (DS), say they would welcome veterans to take part in the Channel 4 series, which features a condensed version of Special Forces selection.

Criticism from the military community is disheartening to new Chief Instructor Billy, who says: "Our biggest critics are the military, unfortunately. 

"Instead of getting behind us and going 'good on ya lads', there's a lot of jealousy out there and it's stupid."

While Billy realises not everyone can be a fan of the show and admits that  criticism SAS Who Dares Wins receives keeps the show "alive", he says he would like to see some more support coming from those who know what it's like to serve. 

He said: "I would say to the military community and families, support it, support us. 

"We're not out there to be big stars, we're doing the job and we actually enjoy it." 

Billy is at pains to acknowledge that he knows SAS Who Dares Wins is a TV show and that it cannot compare 100% to the intense six-month selection course.

SAS Who Dares Wins Series 8 Ep 1 LtoR Rudy Reyes, Chris Oliver, Billy Billingham and Jason 'Foxy' Fox CREDIT Channel 4
The SAS Who Dares Wins: Jungle Hell DS are (from left to right) Rudy Reyes, Chris Oliver, new Chief Instructor Billy Billingham and Jason 'Foxy' Fox (Picture: Channel 4).

However, there are plenty of similarities between the two, with one standing out the most in Billy's mind. 

He said: "What you've got to accept, right, it's a TV show. It has the title Special Forces, SAS – it's not the SAS. 

"If you want to say 'what are the ingredients, what are the comparisons to that and the real SAS?', I'll tell you exactly what it is, it's the people.

"There's nothing special about [the course] other than the title." 

Watch: Billy Billingham explains to Forces News why those who make it to the end of the selection process deserve respect.

Just like the real selection course, the recruits are pushed physically and mentally to a place they have never been to see if they have the self-motivation, discipline, respect and drive to go a little bit further. 

Billiy says it's only 'special' after people have passed selection and joined a regiment or the SBS for example. 

When questioned about why the recruits are asked to complete certain tasks, Billy explains that, due to the short period of time the Directing Staff (DS) have with the recruits, it's all about finding different ways to give them a taste of what is real. 

He said: "When they're running up a hill carrying a big box, what does that represent? Well, that represents the **** we do. 

SAS Who Dares Wins Series 8 Ep 1 4 CREDIT Channel 4
How will the recruits fare when faced with all the jungle has to throw at them? (Picture: Channel 4).

"We carry... heavy equipment, ammunition, awkward shapes, awkward sizes, to places, because we need it. 

"Running around and dragging people through water, yeah, that represents a casualty, we do do that. 

"Every soldier should know that." 

And the SAS Who Dares Wins team are encouraging veterans to give the show a go, even though they realise former service personnel would have an advantage over civilian recruits, both physically and mentally. 

SAS Who Dares Wins Jungle Hell Series 8 Vietnam new DS Chris Oliver CREDIT Channel 4
New member of the Directing Staff Chris Oliver welcomes any veteran to join SAS Who Dares Wins (Picture: Channel 4).

Meanwhile, new DS member Chris is in a unique position. 

The former Special Forces Operator with 16 years of combat experience is also a veteran who watched the show himself for years before joining the team with Billy, Jason 'Foxy' Fox and Rudy Reyes. 

When asked if he would welcome veterans to join the show, he said: "I've had my own opinions joining it, but I can speak truthfully of what I've seen and anybody who wants to put their names forward for this course will be in for a great shock if they don't give it the... attention and due care that is necessary because you'll find yourself in the hurt locker. 

"Any of [the audience] who want to test us as the DS and think that we're not serious about what we're delivering or what we're doing – be under no illusions, all the stuff we're trying to impart on them is from stuff we've learned... behind enemy lines."