On Monday, October 19, SAS Australia will premier on Seven and 7Plus which will see 17 celebrities taken on one of the toughest challenges of their lives, as they attempt to conquer a series of physical and psychological tests from the real SAS selection process.
These new recruits will be cut off from the outside world at a secret base in harsh but spectacular terrain, where they will eat, sleep and train together in punishing conditions. During the show they will be subjected to extreme physical endurance, sleep deprivation, interrogation and psychological testing.
Putting them through the SAS course is an elite team of ex-Special Forces soldiers – Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his DS (Directing Staff) Mark “Billy” Billingham, Jason “Foxy” Fox and Ollie Ollerton from the hit UK version of the series. The same Directing Staff have overseen seven seasons/recruit courses in the UK. Only 13 recruits have passed selection to date.
Middleton joined the Special Boat Service (SBS) in 2008 and spent four years there (the SBS is the UK’s naval Special Forces unit and the sister unit of the SAS). He was a point man/lead scout and also a primary fires operator and sniper. Prior to joining the SBS, Middleton also served in the Royal Marines and 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers – meaning that he has achieved the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the UK’s Elite Forces (P Company, Commando Course, UK Special Forces Selection).
Middleton transferred his Special Forces skills to personal security and was selected to protect VIPs, including government officials and high-profile celebrities. He has also operated as a security expert in South Africa and across various other countries for governments in West Africa. He has trained presidential security teams and also ran extreme SAS style corporate events for large companies who wanted to truly experience the extremes of Special Forces selection.
Recruits will enter the course with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. No personal items are allowed. When they enter base, recruits are issued with a number. They are no longer referred to by name – only the number on their armband.
They will be issued everything they need for the duration of the course on arrival – clothing, footwear and a full backpack, also known as their Bergen (the ‘house on your back’). The Bergen will contain helmet, chest harness, sleeping mat, tarp, towel, water bottle, knife, mess kit, mug, toilet roll, sanitising wipes, sunglasses, head torch, notebook, pencil, toothpaste, toothbrush, belt, armband, whistle, watch, sleeping bag, compass and two sets of kit (clothing).
The Directing Staff ran the entire course without producer direction. No one entered the base apart from the recruits, the DS and the doctor. There are 41 fixed cameras on base and 120 crew members.
Reported injuries from the show include fractured ribs, hypothermia and stitches. Production went through 275 Band-Aids, 65 metres of strapping tape, 957 alcohol swabs and required 4 MRIs. During production, there are over 30 explosions, 790 AK 47 blank rounds used and 22 hours of helicopter time.
The recruits will receive three meals of basic food daily in the Mess. While some recruits were eating 4000+ calories per day during training, their intake is drastically reduced on the course – as low as 1400 calories on some days.
The recruits will not have certain luxuries such as hot water, a flushing toilet, and they have to chop their own wood and light the fires that are the only sources of heat.
Beds are simple camp cots, with one sleeping bag and an army blanket.
Temperatures at base range from a minimum of -5°C to a maximum of 8°C, and the local water temperature is 4°C on average.
Fire is the only means of drying their clothing. With most tasks involving water, mud, sleet or snow, it is a crucial nightly ritual to dry out one set of clothes ready for the next day. Attempting to wear wet clothes in sub-zero temperatures Is very dangerous
There is no winner of SAS Australia and there is no prize. Who will reach breaking point and withdraw? And who has what it takes to tough it out to the end?
SAS Australia cast:
ALI OETJEN – Bachelorette
ARABELLA DEL BUSSO – Glamour Model
CANDICE WARNER – Ironwoman
EDEN DALLY – Reality Star
ERIN MCNAUGHT – Miss Universe Australia
FIRASS DIRANI – Actor
JACKSON WARNE – Poker Player
JAMES MAGNUSSEN – World Champion Swimmer
MERRICK WATTS – Comedian
MITCHELL JOHNSON – Cricket Legend
MOLLY TAYLOR – Rally Car Champion
NICK CUMMINS – Rugby Union Player
ROXY JACENKO – PR Queen
SABRINA FREDERICK – AFLW Star
SCHAPELLE CORBY – Former Bali Inmate
SHANNAN PONTON – Fitness Professional
SHAYNA JACK – Swimming Gold M