Tonight, the final episode of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins aired at 9pm on Channel 4, when we finally discover which of the sixteen celebrity recruits who joined the course SEVEN weeks go will go through to the end and be told by Chief Instructor, Billy Billingham MBE QCB and his team of Directing Staff (DS), Foxy (Jason Fox), Rudy Reyes and Chris Oliver that they have the mental and physical strength and resilience to PASS the course.
As tonight’s episode concludes, only THREE celebrity recruits remain – Matt Hancock (1), Gareth Gates (7) and Danielle Lloyd (11). Foxy says, “Selection is the hardest thing these celebrities could choose to do in their lives. It’s all about trust. I look at the people that are stood in front of us, and I ask myself, in the darkest of dark places, would I have that person stood next to me?”
At the end of the course, the DS line the final three recruits up and Billy tells them: “F**king good effort. All of you. Now you chose to come on what is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most brutal course in the world. So stand proud.” He then announces, “ Congratulations, Number 7 (Gareth). You passed… this course.”
Gareth is shocked and responds, “Thank you, staff. Wow. Thank you.” Before being embraced by his fellow final recruits.
Gareth Gates has talked about what it means to pass this very special, condensed version of SAS selection:
Well done Gareth, finally you can say you’re the winner. You passed this special condensed version of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins selection, ahead of 16 other people. How does that feel?
It was a really crazy experience. To hear the DS at the end, when Billy said, “there’s only one person we’d actually stand shoulder to shoulder with. And that’s you number seven.” That was a really amazing feeling.
What did it mean to you to ‘pass’?
I think winning, or, passing was amazing but being the only one really meant a lot to me. Realising that this is real for these DS, was really eye opening. We’re just here creating a TV show but this is what they’ve had to do for real. I just had huge respect for them, that they have to go through this for real whilst protecting our country.
How did you prepare for the course?
There’s a real difference between being gym fit and being battle fit. I’ve always been of the mindset that you should to train as much as you can but not being able to converse with people makes me feel very weak, so I never expected to be the only one to pass the whole course. That was the last thing I expected because of my insecurities. But to hear that has proved something to myself and I hope people who have any form of affliction at home watched that and think that if he can do it, then so can I!
What did you have that made you stronger than all the others?
In the end, I think I was just mentally strong as well. You can train as hard as you can for the physical element of it. But I think it’s the mental resilience really gets people through to the end.
What surprised you about the series?
It shocked me how fully immersive it is. I was expecting them to yell “cut”, and I thought there would be some downtime, a little bit of time to get my breath back up. But from the moment you arrive, to the moment you leave, the DS treat you like it’s an actual selection process. And it’s tough, they stretch you in every way. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and they really push you to your limits. I think that’s what they were after – those who made it to the end, proved that as people, they are tougher on the inside than they are on the outside.
Where did this mental resilience come from?
I think I have become mentally strong, and able to cope with being stretched mentally, the difficulties I went through as a child and with my speech. Being at school was tough. I was badly bullied. And I think that helped me handle the difficult circumstances I was put in on the course. It was tough and my speech was at its worst there. I’m not great at confrontation or being put on the spot but I just had to somehow dig deep and I managed to tap into that. And I think that’s what got me through it.
I’m also very, very competitive, but mostly competitive against myself. I’m always trying to become better and stronger. I train hard in the gym, but I’m also very driven in life. I think all that comes from having had that drive to get myself out of the traumatic situations I faced with bullies when I was a kid.
How did you cope with being shouted at by the DS?
It was really awful. The DS are very tough guys, but I couldn’t help but think that these guys were pussycats compared to what I went through as a kid. I think it was that inner hurt and those scars that got me through the course.
What was the toughest moment on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins?
Talking about my traumatic experience as a child. I also really really struggled with my speech. That was the hardest thing but also think another thing that got me through as well.
Were there ever times when you were tempted to leave Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins?
I told myself the only way that I was going to leave was if I was to become injured and they’d tell me that I can’t go on. Quitting just wasn’t an option for me.
Why did you want to take part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins?
I think the main reason was because I’ve only really had experience of taking part in a high profile TV show once before – Pop Idol. One of my greatest achievements from Pop Idol was that I heightened the awareness of stammering and also gave anybody who has any form of affliction hope that they can achieve everything that they’ve dreamt of and that they can be the person they want to be, even though they have these things that hold them back. So one of the things I wanted to achieve from taking part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins was that same thing, and the amount of messages that I’ve received while the series has been on air, saying how much I’ve inspired people to never give up, makes me realise that I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve.
Has this experience changed you?
Yes, hugely. It’s definitely made me a much stronger person. And that fact that I passed, so effectively won the whole thing, proved to myself that I am strong and that I’m not that same, cowering young boy who used to hide in the corner. I have actually grown into a man now and I can handle anything.
You can watch Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins on Channel 4 or via the App/Player